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Economic Humour: 11 Funniest Papers in the History of Economics August 27, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Economic Humour, Economics.
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Top  11 Funniest Papers in the History of Economics

By  Yoram Bauman

http://250words.com/2014/06/top-11-funniest-papers-in-the-history-of-economics/

Yoram Bauman, Ph.D., is the co-author of the Cartoon Introduction to Economics (volumes I & II) and the just-released Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change (see below)You can find Yoram at www.standupeconomist.com. This post is adapted from New Developments in Economics Education.

This list is naturally a subjective endeavor, so readers are welcome to fault me for selecting one of my own articles for the list. Many of these articles are from the Miscellany section in the Journal of Political Economy from the days when George Stigler was the editor, or a similar section in Economic Inquiry., which I oversee. Many of them are in the compendium of economics humor that I maintain on my website or in Caroline Postelle Clotfelter’s 1997 book On the Third Hand: Wit and Humor in the Dismal Science. Clotfelter is one of the few women engaged in the field of economics humor, and I have high hopes that women will be more prominently features in future Top Ten lists of economics humor.

1. “Life among the Econ” (1973) by Axel Leijonhufvud

I have hopes that Economic Inquiry will republish this article on the 40th or 50th anniversary of its original publication.

[S]tatus is tied to the manufacture of certain types of implements called “modls.” The status of the adult male is determined by his skill at making the “modl” of his “field.” The facts (a) that the Econ are highly status-motivated, (b) that status is only to be achieved by making “modls,” and (c) that most of these “modls” seem to be of little or no practical use, probably accounts for the backwardness and abject cultural poverty of the tribe.

The dominant role of “modl” is perhaps best illustrated by the (unfortunately very incomplete) accounts we have of relationships between the two largest of the Econ castes, the “Micro” and the “Macro”… If a Micro-Econ is asked why the Micro do not intermarry with the Macro, he will answer “They make a different modl,” or “They do not know the Micro modl.”

It would be to fail in one’s responsibility to the Econ people to end this brief sketch of life in their society without a few words about their future. The prospect for the Econ is bleak. Their social structure and culture should be studied now before it is gone forever.

2. “The theory of interstellar trade” (1978/2010) by Paul Krugman

The paper might have disappeared had it not been for Joshua Gans. Gans told me that he was Krugman’s TA in 1993 and ended up with a paper copy of the article, which came up “in 2008, [when] a discussion arose on the Internet about interstellar trade.” Gans sent Krugman a scanned version of the article, which Krugman posted online, noting that “Thirty years ago I was an oppressed assistant professor, caught up in the academic rat race. To cheer myself up I wrote — well, see for yourself.”

This article extends interplanetary trade theory to an interstellar setting. It is chiefly concerned with the following question: how should interest charges on goods in transit be computed when the goods travel at close to the speed of light? This is a problem because the time taken in transit will appear less to an observer traveling with the goods than to a stationary observer. A solution is derived from economic theory, and two useless but true theorems are proved.

Many critics of conventional economics have argued, with considerable justification, that the assumptions underlying neoclassical theory bear little resemblance to the world we know. These critics have, however, been too quick to assert that this shows that mainstream economics can never be of any use. Recent progress in the technology of space travel… make this assertion doubtful; for they raise the distinct possibility that we may eventually discover or construct a world to which orthodox economic theory applies.

3. “The effect of prayer on God’s attitude toward mankind” (1980/2010) by James Heckman

Heckman wrote this paper in 1980  was not published until2010. (It is unknown if Heckman ever submitted it for publication in 1980.)

This article uses data available from the National Opinion Research Center’s survey on religious attitudes and powerful statistical methods to evaluate the effect of prayer on the attitude of God toward human beings.

The technique—due to Singh (1977)—is briefly described here. Let Y be God’s attitude arrayed on a scale ranging from 0 to 1. This is an unobserved variable. Let X be the intensity of prayer in the population. It too is scaled between 0 and 1. The population density of prayer is summarized by a univariate density f(X), which has been estimated by Father Greeley (1972).

The empirical conclusion from this analysis is important. A little prayer does no good and may make things worse. Much prayer helps a lot.

4. “The conference handbook” (1982) by George Stigler

There is an ancient joke about the two traveling salesmen in the age of the train. The younger drummer was being initiated into the social life of the traveler by the older. They proceeded to the smoking parlor on the train, where a group of drummers were congregated. One said, “87,” and a wave of laughter went through the group. The older drummer explained to the younger that they traveled together so often that they had numbered their jokes. The younger drummer wished to participate in the event and diffidently ventured to say, “36.” He was greeted by cool silence. The older drummer took him aside and explained that they had already heard that joke. (In another version, the younger drummer was told that he had told the joke badly.)

Economists travel together a great deal, and there is no reason why the discussions which follow the presentation of papers should not utilize a handbook of commentary. The following is a preliminary list of numbered comments, which itself will cover a large share of the comments elicited in most conferences.

  • I can be very sympathetic with the author; until 2 years ago I was thinking along similar lines.
  • This paper contains much that is new and much that is good.
  • Theorizing is not fruitful at this stage: we need a series of case studies.
  • Case studies are a clue, but no real progress can be made until a model of the process is constructed.
  • The conclusions change if you introduce uncertainty.
  • The central argument is not only a tautology, it is false.

5. “Macroeconomic policy and the optimal destruction of vampires” (1982) by Dennis Snower

Although human beings have endured the recurring ravages of vampires for centuries, scarcely any attempts have been made to analyze the macroeconomic implications of this problem and to devise socially optimal policy responses.

Over the past few centuries, a number of prominent investigators… have suggested that all vampires should be destroyed… [We show that] such a policy would not be socially optimal.

Untitled

6. “American economic growth and the voyage of Columbus” (1983) by Preston McAfee

Since the imaginative, pathbreaking, inventive analysis of Robert Fogel (1962), the counterfactual analysis has intrigued and scintillated a generation of economists. Fogel considered the state of the American economy in 1890, had the railroads never been invented. He found that less than 10 percent of the American output could be attributed to the single innovation of railroads, thus demonstrating irrevocably that the loss of trains would not derail the American economic juggernaut.

In order to perform a valid test of the invincibility of the American economic cornucopia, the counterfactual must predate the development of the celebrated entrepreneur and the waves of immigrants whose sweat was an important input into the production process. Consequently, it is hypothesized that, rather than stumble upon the two American continents, Columbus fell off the edge of the earth. Certainly this is a valid test, for if America were to be virtually unchanged, despite not being discovered, certainly the “American century” was inevitable. I choose the year 2000 as a target date, and compare America as it will be in the year 2000 to the way it would have been then, had Columbus fallen off the edge.

7. “Mankiw’s ten principles of economics, translated” (2003) by Yoram Bauman

This paper, which launched my own career as “the world’s first and only stand-up economist”, was written during my graduate school days at the University of Washington in Seattle and eventually published in AIR. (Also available on YouTube.)

The second table below summarizes my attempt to translate [Gregory] Mankiw’s Ten Principles into plain English, and in doing so to provide the uninitiated with an invaluable glimpse of the economic mind at work. Explanations and details can be found in the pages that follow, but the average reader is advised to simply cut out the table below and carry it around for assistance in the (hereafter unlikely) event of confusion about the basic Principles of Economics.

Mankiw

8. “Can financial innovation help to explain the reduced volatility of economic activity?” (2006) by Karen E. Dynan et al.

This paper was not meant to be humorous. But given how financial innovation has increased economic volatility since the Great Depression, it arguably deserves a place in this list. It is a modern equivalent of Irving Fischer’s proclamation three days before the 1929 stock market crash that “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.”

The stabilization of economic activity in the mid-1980s has received considerable attention. Research has focused primarily on the role played by milder economic shocks, improved inventory management, and better monetary policy. This paper explores another potential explanation: financial innovation. Examples of such innovation include developments in lending practices and loan markets that have enhanced the ability of households and firms to borrow and changes in government policy such as the demise of Regulation Q. We employ a variety of simple empirical techniques to identify links between the observed moderation in economic activity and the influence of financial innovation on consumer spending, housing investment, and business fixed investment. Our results suggest that financial innovation should be added to the list of likely contributors to the mid-1980s stabilization.

9. “Japan’s Phillips Curve looks like Japan” (2008) by Gregor Smith

Smith’s webpage used to link to a version of the paper with this note: “The title is also the abstract and, frankly, most of the text.”

Japan’s Phillips Curve is shown in the right-hand panel of Figure 1. The data are monthly from January 1980 to August 2005.

For ease of viewing, the left-hand panel of Figure 1 rotates the Phillips Curve around the vertical axis so that minus the unemployment rate now is on the horizontal axis. Clearly visible are the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu, though it is somewhat difficult to separately distinguish the southern islands of Kyushu and Shikoku. The Noto-Hanto Penninsula is evident to the north of the southern end of the main island of Honshu. Tokyo Bay is also visible. The data point to the far left in Figure 1 is the island of Fukue-Jima.  

Japan

10. “On the efficiency of AC/DC? Bon Scott versus Brian Johnson” (2009) by Robert Oxoby

Unfortunately, Steven Levitt failed to get the joke, prompting him to post on the Freakonomics blog that “This is what happens to people who listen to too much AC/DC… I hope for this guy’s sake he has tenure.” Oxoby wrote in the comments that “I have tenure” and added some details on the paper: “The paper was written using old data from a grad student studying the effects of different genres of music on behavior (following previous research identifying the effect of different genres on heart rate, etc.; her original interest was on the use of music in behavior therapy). She abandoned the project and has since disappeared from her program. The AC/DC spin was due to a mistake in the protocols: different songs were played in two sessions.” The next day Levittacknowledged that “There is hope for economics: The AC/DC paper was a joke”:

Abstract: We use tools from experimental economics to address the age-old debate regarding who was a better singer in the band AC/DC. Our results suggest that (using wealth maximization as a measure of “better”) listening to Brian Johnson (relative to listening to Bon Scott) resulted in “better” outcomes in an ultimatum game. These results may have important implications for settling drunken music debates and environmental design issues in organizations.

Acknowledgments: We thank Steven Levitt for his support and popularization of this research (see, for example, Levitt 2007). We thank Nathan Berg, Gary Charness, Bill Harbaugh, and Kendra McLeish for valuable suggestions and comments. We also thank a delayed Air Canada flight and a bar in the Vancouver airport for providing the time, space, and resources necessary to pursue this research. All errors are attributable to Air Canada.

11. “An option value problem from Seinfeld” (2011) by Avinash Dixit

Abstract: This is a paper about nothing.

In an episode of the sitcom Seinfeld (Season 7, Episode 9, original air date December 7, 1995), Elaine Benes uses a contraceptive sponge that gets taken off the market. She scours pharmacies in the neighborhood to stock a large supply, but it is finite. So she must “re-evaluate her whole screening process.” Every time she dates a new man, which happens very frequently, she has to consider a new issue: Is he spongeworthy”? The purpose of this article is to quantify this concept of spongeworthiness.

When Elaine uses up a sponge, she is giving up the option to have it available when an even better man comes along. Therefore using the sponge amounts to exercising a real option to wait and spongeworthiness is an option value. It can be calculated using standard option-pricing techniques. However, unlike the standard theory of financial or many real options, there are no complete markets and no replicating portfolios. Stochastic dynamic programming methods must be used.

– See more at: http://250words.com/2014/06/top-11-funniest-papers-in-the-history-of-economics/#sthash.x0l5GssQ.dpuf

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The statement ‘seven out of ten fastest growing economies are in Africa’ carries no real meaning. To utter it is merely stating that you subscribe to the hype August 26, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt, Africa Rising, African Poor, Aid to Africa, Development & Change, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Free development vs authoritarian model, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Land Grabs in Africa, Poverty, The extents and dimensions of poverty in Ethiopia, UN's New Sustainable Development Goals, Undemocratic governance in Africa, Youth Unemployment.
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‘Most of the time we simply do not know enough to assert accurate growth rates. There are also known biases and manipulations. Ethiopia, for example, is notable for having long-standing disagreements with the IMF regarding their growth rates. Whereas the official numbers have been quoted in double digits for the past decade, a thorough analysis suggested the actual growth rates were around 5 to 6 percent per annum. More generally, one study used satellite imaging of nighttime lights to calculate alternative growth rates, and found that authoritarian regimes overstate reported rates of growth by about 0.5 to 1.5 percentage points. Another recent study argues that inflation is systematically understated in African countries – which in turn means that growth and poverty reduction is overstated.’
http://africanarguments.org/2014/08/26/why-saying-seven-out-of-ten-fastest-growing-economies-are-in-africa-carries-no-real-meaning-by-morten-jerven/

Why saying ‘seven out of ten fastest growing economies are in Africa’ carries no real meaning

By Morten Jerven @ AfricanArguments
Before, during and after the US Africa summit one of the most frequently repeated factoids supporting the Africa Rising meme was that ‘seven out of ten fastest growing economies are in Africa.’ In reality this is both a far less accurate and much less impressive statistic than it sounds. More generally, narratives on African economic development tend to be loosely connected to facts, and instead are driven more by hype.

***

The ‘seven out of ten’ meme derives from a data exercise done in 2011 by The Economist. The exercise excluded countries with a population of less than 10 million and also the post-conflict booming Iraq and Afghanistan. This left 81 countries, 28 of them in Africa (more than 3 out of 10) and, if you take out the OECD countries from the sample, (which are unlikely to grow at more than 7 percent per annum), you find that every second economy in the sample is in Africa. It might not give the same rhetorical effect to say: ‘on average some African economies are expected to grow slightly faster than other non-OECD countries,’ but that would be more accurate.

And before we literally get ahead of ourselves (The Economist was reporting forecasts made for 2011 to 2015) there is a difference between forecasted and actually measured growth. According to John Kenneth Galbraith, the only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. So how good is the IMF at forecasting growth in Low Income Countries?

According to their own evaluation, IMF forecasts “over-predicted GDP growth and under-predicted inflation.” Another study looked at the difference between the forecasts and the subsequent growth revisions in low income countries, and found that “output data revisions in low-income countries are, on average, larger than in other countries, and that they are much more optimistic.” Forecasts are systematically optimistic all over the world, but in Low Income Countries even more so.

***

Among those on the list of the fastest growers were countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia. The news that both Nigerian and Ghanaian GDP doubled following the introduction of new benchmark years for estimating GDP in 2010 and 2014 should remind us that the pinpoint accuracy of these growth estimates is lacking. How confident should you be about a 7 percent growth rate when 50 percent of the economy is missing in the official baseline? Recent growth in countries with outdated base years is also overstated.

While Ghana has reportedly had the highest growth rates in the world over the past years, a peer review of the Ghana national accounts noted that “neither a national census of agriculture nor other surveys, such as a crop and live-stock survey, have been conducted…there is no survey to provide benchmark data for construction, domestic trade and services.” It was recently reported that an economic census is being planned for next year. What we do know is that Ghana (together with Zambia, another of the projected ‘top ten growers’) has returned to the IMF to seek assistance following their entry into international lending markets.

Most of the time we simply do not know enough to assert accurate growth rates. There are also known biases and manipulations. Ethiopia, for example, is notable for having long-standing disagreements with the IMF regarding their growth rates. Whereas the official numbers have been quoted in double digits for the past decade, a thorough analysis suggested the actual growth rates were around 5 to 6 percent per annum. More generally, one study used satellite imaging of nighttime lights to calculate alternative growth rates, and found that authoritarian regimes overstate reported rates of growth by about 0.5 to 1.5 percentage points. Another recent study argues that inflation is systematically understated in African countries – which in turn means that growth and poverty reduction is overstated.

***

Data bias is carried across from economic growth to other metrics. The pressure on scholars, journalists and other commentators to say something general about ‘Africa’ is relentless, and so the general rule is to oblige willingly. When talking about average trends in African politics and opinion, analysis is influence by the availability of survey data, such as Afrobarometer, and the data availability is biased. According to Kim Yi Donne, on The Washington Post’s ‘Monkey Cage’ blog, of the 15 African countries with the lowest Polity IV rankings, only seven have ever been included in the Afrobarometer, whereas all but one African country rated as a democracy by the same index is included.

Any quantitative study which says something about the relationship between growth and trends in inequality and poverty, relies on the availability of household survey data. One paper boldly stated that African Poverty is Falling…Much Faster than You Think! The data basis was very sparse and unevenly distributed. There were no data points for Angola, Congo, Comoros, Cape Verde, D.R. Congo, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Seychelles, Togo, Sao Tome and Principe, Chad, Liberia, and Sudan. In addition, six countries only have one survey. The database included no observations since 2004 – so the trend in poverty was based entirely on conjecture. Famously you need at least two data points to draw a line. Yet the study included a graph of poverty lines in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1970 to 2006 – based on zero data points.

A result of doubts about the accuracy of the official evidence, and a dearth of evidence on income distributions, scholars have turned to other measurements. Data on access to education and ownership of goods such as television sets from Demographic and Health Surveys were used to compile new asset indices. In turn, these data were used to proxy economic growth and in place of having a measure of the middle class. In both cases the data may paint a misleadingly positive picture. While claiming to describe all of Africa over the past two decades, these surveys are only available for some countries sometimes.

***

The statement ‘seven out of ten fastest growing economies are in Africa’ carries no real meaning. To utter it is merely stating that you subscribe to the hype. It is particularly frustrating, and it surely stands in way of objective evaluation, that the narratives in African Economic Development switches from one extreme to the other so swiftly. The truth lies somewhere between the ‘miracles’ and ‘tragedies’. It is nothing short of stunning that in a matter of 3-4 years the most famous phrase relating to African economies has turned from ‘Bottom Billion’ to ‘Africa Rising’.

Because of a lack of awareness on historical data on economic growth it was long claimed that Africa was suffering “a chronic failure of growth”, but growth is not new to the African economies, growth has been recurring. There is no doubt that there are more goods leaving and entering the African continent today than fifteen years ago. More roads and hotels are being built and more capital is flowing in and out of the African continent than before. But what is the real pace of economic growth? Does the increase in the volume of transaction result in a sustained increase in living standards? The evidence does not yet readily provide us with an answer. It is the job of scholars to give tempered assessments that navigate between what is make-believe and what passes as plausible evidence.

Morten Jerven is Associate Professor at the Simon Fraser University, School for International Studies. His book Poor Numbers: how we are misled by African development statistics and what to do about it is published by Cornell University Press. @MJerven

http://africanarguments.org/2014/08/26/why-saying-seven-out-of-ten-fastest-growing-economies-are-in-africa-carries-no-real-meaning-by-morten-jerven/

Related References:

 

Why Africa needs a data revolution

 

Since the term “data revolution” was introduced, there has been a flurry of activity to define, develop, and implement an agenda to transform the collection, use, and distribution of development statistics. That makes sense. Assessing the international community’s next development agenda, regardless of its details, will be impossible without accurate data.

Yet, in Sub-Saharan Africa – the region with the most potential for progress under the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals – accurate data are severely lacking. From 1990 to 2009, only one Sub-Saharan country had data on all 12 indicators established in 2000 by the Millennium Development Goals. Indeed, of the 60 countries with complete vital statistics, not one is in Africa. While most African countries have likely experienced economic growth during the last decade, the accuracy of the data on which growth estimates are based – not to mention data on inflation, food production, education, and vaccination rates – remains far from adequate.

Inaccurate data can have serious consequences. Consider Nigeria’s experience earlier this year, when GDP rebasing showed that the economy was nearly 90% larger than previously thought. The distorted picture of Nigeria’s economy provided by the previous statistics likely led to misguided decisions regarding private investment, credit ratings, and taxation. Moreover, it meant that Nigeria was allocated more international aid than it merited – aid that could have gone to needier countries.

Contrary to popular belief, the constraints on the production and use of basic data stem not from a shortage of technical capacity and knowhow, but from underlying political and systemic challenges. For starters, national statistical offices often lack the institutional autonomy needed to protect the integrity of data, production of which thus tends to be influenced by political forces and special interest groups.

Poorly designed policies also undermine the accuracy of data. For example, governments and donors sometimes tie funding to self-reported measures, which creates incentives for recipients to over-report key data like vaccination or school-enrollment rates. Without effective oversight, these well-intentioned efforts to reward progress can go awry.

Despite these failings, national governments and international donors continue to devote far too few resources to ensuring the collection of adequate data. Only 2% of official development aid is earmarked for improving the quality of statistics – an amount wholly insufficient to assess accurately the impact of the other 98% of aid. And governments’ dependency on donors to fund and gather their core statistics is unsustainable.

In fact, stronger national statistical systems are the first step toward improving the accuracy, timeliness, and availability of the data that are essential to calculating almost any major economic or social-welfare indicator. These include statistics on births and deaths; growth and poverty; tax and trade; health, education, and safety; and land and the environment.

Developing such systems is an ambitious but achievable goal. All that is needed is a willingness to experiment with new approaches to collecting, using, and sharing data.

This is where the public comes in. If private firms, media, and civil-society organizations identify specific problems and call publicly for change, their governments will feel pressure to take the steps needed to produce accurate, unbiased data – for example, by enhancing the autonomy of national statistical offices or providing sufficient funds to hire more qualified personnel. While it may be tempting to bypass government and hope for an easy technology-based solution, sustainable, credible progress will be difficult without public-sector involvement.

The recognition by governments and external donors of the need for more – and more efficient – funding, particularly to national statistical systems, will be integral to such a shift. Establishing stronger incentives for agencies to produce good data – that is, data that are accurate, timely, relevant, and readily available – would also help, with clearly delineated metrics defining what qualifies as “good.” In fact, tying progress on those metrics to funding via pay-for-performance agreements could improve development outcomes considerably.

One concrete strategy to achieve these goals would be to create a country-donor compact for better data.

Read more @ http://forumblog.org/2014/08/africas-necessary-data-revolution/?utm_content=buffer4f4fd&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

Across Europe, independence fever is spreading – from Scotland to Spain, from Cornwall to Catalonia. The eyes of nationalists in several nations will be on Scotland’s referendum on September 18. #Oromia August 26, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Oromia, Scotland, Self determination.
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‘Across Europe, independence fever is spreading – from Scotland to Spain, from Cornwall to Catalonia. The eyes of nationalists in several nations will be on Scotland’s referendum on September 18.’ #Oromia

Scottish independence: Why Catalonia, Flanders and Venice will be watching

http://metro.co.uk/2014/08/22/scottish-independence-why-catalonia-flanders-and-venice-will-be-watching-4838046/

O flower of Scotland, when will we see your like again?

Perhaps a lot sooner than you might expect. Scots will go to the polls next month to decide on their country’s future, but the referendum on independence could spark similar moves in other countries.

Across Europe, independence fever is spreading – from Scotland to Spain, from Cornwall to Catalonia. The eyes of nationalists in several nations will be on Scotland’s referendum on September 18.

‘It’s being followed very closely in Spain, notably in Catalonia,’ said Michael Keating, professor of politics at the University of Aberdeen and director of the ESRC Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change.

‘That’s the place in Europe where there’s most interest in what’s happening in Scotland because the Catalan government is proposing a referendum of their own.’

MORE: Celebrities from England, Wales and Northern Ireland sign #letsstaytogether petition asking Scotland to remain part of the UK

A referendum asking Catalans if they want to break away from Spain has a tentative date – November 9 – but the Spanish government deems any such poll as unconstitutional.

‘They are in complete deadlock,’ said Prof Keating. ‘It’s just a train crash. No one knows what’s going to happen. The Catalans say if you can have a referendum in Scotland, then why not in Spain? They’re having a very frustrating argument about whether it’s legal or not, which means they haven’t even got to discussing the economic consequences of independence.’

In Scotland, this is where the battle lines of the debate between the Yes and No campaigns have been drawn. What will decide the outcome of the vote? It’s the economy, stupid.

‘It seems the Yes side has done a better side of campaigning by far,’ said Prof Keating. ‘They’ve cornered many of the big issues about Scottishness, about Union, about welfare. But there is uncertainty about the economic implications. That’s something the nationalists have not been able to reassure people on.’

Despite this, the Yes campaign has seen a slight increase in its share of the vote, if the latest opinion polls this week are anything to go by – about 43% of Scots want independence. But questions about industry, investment and currency are making the majority think twice about breaking away. Prof Keating said it was ‘remarkable’ that the polls have remained relatively unchanged in the past year.

But what has changed in the past few years is the relationship between a nation and its inhabitants. The world has become smaller.

‘We’re in a completely new era,’ said Prof Keating. ‘The nation state in its classic sense just doesn’t exist any more. Because of globalisation, global free trade and European regulation, the states are pretty much powerless. This means that wealthy regions in particular don’t see any need for the state any more.

‘You can become independent if you’re in the European Union, you still get access to the single market.

‘There was an assumption in the past that we’re all British or French or Spanish or whatever – people no longer believe that. That crisis of the nation state gives an opportunity for alternative proposals.’ Read From Metro @ http://metro.co.uk/2014/08/22/scottish-independence-why-catalonia-flanders-and-venice-will-be-watching-4838046/

 

 

 

http://http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/aug/25/guardian-icm-poll-alex-salmond-winner-scotland-debate

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/aug/25/guardian-icm-poll-alex-salmond-winner-scotland-debate

Attention to Donor Agencies: No democracy means no development August 26, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Aid to Africa, Development & Change, Free development vs authoritarian model, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Youth Unemployment.
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Development First, Democracy Later?

By Anna Lekvall, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs; formerly Senior Programme Manager for Democracy and Development at International IDEA.

http://naiforum.org/2014/08/development-first-democracy-later/

Across all continents, cultures and religions, 80 per cent of men and women worldwide believe that democracy is the best available form of governance. But there is a raging democracy deficit across the world.

There is wide support for democracy in international agreements and development policy. Yet, only 2 per cent of official development aid goes to democracy support, indicating a low priority in practice.

The much larger aid flows delivered to reduce poverty also affect democratic processes and power dynamics – sometimes negatively.

The binding constraint on development is not always money or knowledge. It is also about political processes. Citizens across the world therefore call for democratic and accountable politics.

There is a raging democracy deficit across the world. Across all continents, cultures and religions, by gender, age, education or income level, 80 per cent of men and women worldwide believe that democracy is the best available form of governance.[1]

Only 30 per cent, however, are satisfied with the democracy that they are experiencing, and 85 per cent of the world’s population lives in countries where media freedom is obstructed. Democratic transitions that were promising 20 years ago have in many cases regressed.

There is wide support for democracy in international agreements and development policy. Key donor countries and international organizations have goals to support democracy within official development assistance. The UN Charter is clear that the authority of governments shall be based on the will of the people. The UN Millennium Declaration promises that no effort shall be spared to promote democracy.

Yet when it comes to the practical implementation of official development aid, supporting democracy is a low priority.  The newly published book Development First, Democracy Later? (International IDEA, 2014) takes a critical look at traditional aid forms from a democracy perspective. It finds that despite donor countries’ often explicit ambitions to strengthen democracy, the picture emerging is not encouraging. In practice, democracy seems to be a low priority within official development assistance.

Supporting key democratic processes and institutions – elections, parliamentary strengthening, civil society – is a niche area of aid. But it only accounts for about 2 per cent of all development assistance. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, the much larger aid flows delivered to reduce poverty, also affect democratic processes and power dynamics – sometimes in a negative way.

Many aid-recipient countries are ruled by either authoritarian or hybrid regimes. Among the ten countries that received most aid in 2010, all but one were ruled by authoritarian or hybrid regimes. Channelling money in such an environment requires careful consideration of the effects on the domestic political situation as it risks sustaining a dysfunctional system and reinforcing the powers that be.

Yet, the connections between development aid resources and the space for democracy are seldom explicitly discussed, the analysis in the book finds. Despite the use of political economy analysis, donors keep focusing on the executive branch of government and a limited type of civil society organisations, largely avoiding key political and social actors.

The primary focus is still establishing partnerships with governments of which some obstruct political representation, impede free speech, manipulate elections and compromise the rule of law. Despite the increased focus on accountability, development resources risk sustaining the hold on power of already overpowered executive heads of government.

Despite the rhetoric of country ownership, donors continue to prescribe policy priorities in budget reviews and to move policy formulation from domestic political processes to development aid negotiations. National actors become almost redundant in the process.

When donors eventually speak up for democracy and cleaner politics, it is often because things have got so badly wrong that they have to react. So-called ‘political crises’, are often situations which could have been foreseen and addressed in the choice of aid modalities.

Thus, not only has democracy not been a key goal on the aid agenda, but the way in which aid is organized has had challenging consequences for democracy. The development community acknowledges many of these concerns.

The Accra Agenda for Action recognized the need for inclusive ownership and the importance of involving actors such as parliaments, local government and civil society in development. In Busan, the private sector was added as a stakeholder and the term ‘democratic ownership’ was used. These are positive steps at the level of international policy deliberations, but translating the new policies into practice is a challenge.

There are many reasons for democracy being a low priority in the aid agenda. Other foreign policy goals are prioritized. It is difficult. There are disbursement pressures and practical issues in the way aid is organized. But there may also be a more ideological or theoretical reason.

The success stories in Asia, and of China in particular, have reinforced an old view that development comes first, and (hopefully) democracy later, even to the extent of seeing democracy as an obstacle that must be overcome by insulating the state from public concerns.

This is a dangerous path, however, as there is a tendency for absolute power to lead to absolute corruption – and absolute repression. Even if it is possible to find a ‘good autocrat’, he or she usually does not stay that way. Democracy is a fundamental requirement for replacing leaders peacefully. This must not be forgotten.

Moreover, despite some authoritarian successes, there is substantive empirical evidence that democracy delivers on development, even in poor countries. Among the top 50 countries that achieved the highest levels of human development in 2011, only four had either authoritarian or hybrid regimes. The rest were democracies.

One study compares the experience only across poor countries and finds that people in poor democracies live nine years longer than people in poor autocracies, have a 40 per cent greater chance of attending secondary school and benefit from agricultural yields that are 25 per cent higher. Poor democracies suffer 20 per cent fewer infant deaths than poor autocracies. Democracies fare better at avoiding political conflict and dealing with natural disasters.

But there are even more reasons why the development agenda should not ignore democracy. Over the past decade, the role of politics has come increasingly to the fore in explaining development failures. In Africa, success in terms of economic growth does not match its poor record in reducing poverty. There is little doubt that the vast majority of Africans do not get a fair share of the yields from the continent’s huge natural resource wealth.

Africa has 60 per cent of the world’s uncultivated arable land. It produces less agricultural output per person today than fifty years ago. Farmers lack access to capital for fertilizer and irrigation. They lack the roads and storage needed to get harvests to market. These are public goods that their governments should be facilitating. The economic resources exist and the solutions are known.

The binding constraint on development is not always money or knowledge. It is also about political processes. Citizens across the world know this, and therefore call for democratic and accountable politics. In a United Nations study in the post 2015-process, it was made clear that ‘honest and responsive government’ was among the top five priorities when people in 194 countries were asked.

Development experts too are finding that dysfunctional political institutions and processes are hindering development. Donor agencies are realizing the same, shown by the interest in political economy analysis. What remains, however, is making the move from analysis to considering aid modalities from the perspective of both democracy and development.


[1] All facts, definitions and references may be found in Development First, Democracy Later?, International IDEA, 2014. Free to download here.

http://naiforum.org/2014/08/development-first-democracy-later/

After Sudan; World should Focus on Oromo August 26, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Colonizing Structure, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, South Sudan, The Tyranny of Ethiopia.
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After Sudan; World should Focus on Oromo
This article was first posted in January 2011 | Awol Negewo finds it still very relevant

http://www.africanexecutive.com/modules/magazine/article_print.php?article=5663

August 25, 2014 (African Executive) — It has never known political stability after the colonial conquest and subjugation by Abyssinia. It has never enjoyed real prosperity in spite of being one of the richest nations in natural resources in the horn of Africa with a population estimated at 33 million. It is Africa’s longest political conflict that appears to have been forgotten by the international community including IGAD and Africa Union among others. It has won the unenviable accolade of being the cradle of the world’s largest forced mass movement from one country in modern African history, namely the current exodus from Ethiopia. Welcome to Oromia, the country of the Oromo people (375,000 square miles).

In the last four decades, the Horn of Africa, with Ethiopia as an epicenter, has experienced an unprecedented wave of refugee flows, resulting in large concentrations of displaced persons. Nearly all these displaced persons are from Ethiopia. Today there are an estimated over 10 million refugees originating from Ethiopia, second only to those from Afghanistan and Iraq put together.

The influx of Ethiopians fleeing their country to Kenya has always hit headlines in the local and internal press. Ironically, most are apprehended by Kenyan authorities and handed back to the Ethiopian authorities or locked up in Kenyan prisons. Some of the refugees are said to be on transit to South Africa.

The Oromo Liberation Front has for decades been embroiled in a protracted war for the liberation of the Oromia. The most striking aspect to political pundits and academics is the manner in which the international community has accorded the conflict a blind eye, and regional governments, IGAD and AU cannot explain why Ethiopians are fleeing their country in droves.

Who will save the Oromo people from institutionalized oppression and blatant abuse of basic human rights by the Addis Ababa government? What is the IGAD and the Africa Union doing to resolve the conflict? The 140 years of continuous acts of cultural genocide by successive Ethiopian regimes is a remarkable testimony to the resilience of the Oromo cultural values and democratic heritage.

Even as the international community remain silent in the face of the conflict that has claimed lives of millions of people, it is is important to note that as a geo-cultural bridge between Europe, Africa and Asia, the Horn of Africa has always been embroiled in some world-historic events, since the times of the Roman empire. The Horn remains important in security considerations of the Middle East and the increasingly competitive global economy.

It is important to observe that the current Ethiopian regime is being sustained in power by foreign western powers for imperialistic reasons. Take the case of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), also known as Wayyane, which was promoted in 1991 by foreign governments, particularly that of the US, to fill the power vacuum created by the downfall of the Dergue regime. As expected, this led to replacement of the Amhara regime by a Tigrean power as was evident to those familiar with the Ethiopian political landscape.

Under the pretext of opening the country for world market and democratization, traditional supporters and partners of the Ethiopian empire used the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to pump huge amounts of money into the coffer of TPLF. During the first four years of its rule, the regime received about US$3 billion in bilateral grants. The Paris Club member countries granted significant debt-cancellations and rescheduling. The TPLF regime used the multilateral and bilateral assistance to dismantle Amhara-centre state apparatus and to replace it by institutions that are nothing more than appendages of a tightly controlled party-apparatus of the Tigrean ruling class.

Today, there is no public institution, be it the military, the judiciary, the civil service, the regulatory agencies, and financial institutions outside the control of the TPLF and its surrogate parties. Thus, the regime cannot claim democratic legitimacy by any standard. Most disturbing are reports of Kenyan Borana Oromo near the border being harassed and imprisoned in Kenya. These incidents are violating international law regarding refugees. They could have been taken to Kenyan courts, if suspected of any crime.

The human rights crisis in Ethiopia is so worrying. No one seems to understand the scale of the violations. targeted and systematic tortures, disappearances and extrajudicial killings are common place in that country. There seems to be no hiding place for the victims of human rights violations under the current regime in Ethiopia. Peasants in certain areas are particularly targeted and expelled in broad day light from their farmlands for the sake of the officials and of TPLF-led government financial gains.

“The peoples of Oromia and Kenya share a longstanding cordial relationship. In particular, Kenya, as a democratic and stable country, continues to provide safety for a significant number of Oromo refugees fleeing from persecution by the Ethiopian state. However, it is of also of grave concern that recently, a large number of Oromo refugees have been handed over to the Ethiopian authorities by the Kenyan agents who have been recruited by the Addis Ababa spy network. More worrying is the fact that their operations are not sanctioned by the Kenyan government. These refugees are sent back to inhumane torture and certain death in the hands of the Ethiopian security agents,” says an OLF petition to Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki.

The petition, copied to the country’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga further notes: “We believe Kenya could play a positive and constructive role in supporting a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Oromia and Ethiopia and that would make Kenya a legitimate player in the international arena. We respectfully urge you to appraise the situation and reconsider your policy and assure supporting the just cause of the oppressed Oromo people rather than assisting the bloodthirsty regime in Ethiopia.”

In the recent months, Kenyans authorities have been accused of illegal rendition of Oromo refugees and Kenyans to Ethiopia under the pretext of cracking down on the Oromo Liberation Front (OLP) militias. While in Ethiopia, the individuals are arraigned before special courts where they are handed heavy jail sentences ranging from death to life in prison. The ORA has accused the Ethiopian government and some elements within the Kenyan government of gross violation of the basic human rights of the Oromo refugees and Kenyans shipped to Ethiopia.

The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) was established in 1973 by Oromo nationalists to promote the right to self-determination for the Oromo people against what they call “Ethiopia colonial rule.” There are reports that the OLF has increased its activity following the general elections of 2005 and has offices in Washington, D.C. and Berlin.

The international community particularly IGAD and the AU ought to appreciate the fact that the fundamental objective of the Oromo liberation movement is to exercise the Oromo peoples’ right to national self-determination and end centuries of oppression and exploitation by Ethiopian colonialism. The foreign policy of OLF stipulates that it respects the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Kenya and all neighbouring countries. Kenya, the host state to the refugees has been accused of violating the 1951 UN Convention and 1967 Protocol on the status of the refugees for handing over the Oromos who have fled their homes to escape persecution.

It was through the initiative of IGAD, AU and the EU that a protracted peace deal was negotiated between SPLM and the Khartoum government, effectively putting an end to one of Africa’s longest conflict then. As the Southern Sudan people undertake a decision on the future of the nation through the referendum, it is important that the international community focus attention on the Oromo conflict to save the plight of the Oromia nation.

The Oromo people’s demand of self-determination is neither a question of secession from a country with whom they have willfully integrated nor a matter of a periphery struggling for decentralization or devolution of power from a central government. It is a demand by the Oromo people to restore the sovereignty taken away from them and to freely determine their own political status. This demand does not, therefore, violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Khartoum government. The Oromo people have never been meaningfully represented in Ethiopian political process. There has never been a moment in the political history of the Ethiopian empire-state when the state possessed a government representing the “whole people.”

Moreso, the Oromo people’s demand for self-determination is not an internal affair of Ethiopia. Many nations in the world including Kenya are shouldering the burden of refugees from the Ethiopia. UNHCR is spending millions of dollars to sustain refugees from Ethiopia. Much more too is spent on relocating some of the refugees to friendly countries in Europe. This indeed, makes the conflict a matter of interest and concern to the international community including regional bodies like IGAD, AU and relevant UN agencies. In the same vein, the liberation struggle of the Oromo people against successive Ethiopian regimes cannot be characterized as “an internal civil strife, banditry, terrorism, or civil war.” It is a struggle of people under alien domination.

What the international community must realize is that TPLF regime constantly fabricates false accusations to criminalize and demonise Oromo political organisations as a smokescreen to conceal the regime’s acts of genocide against Oromo social and cultural life. An attempt by the regime to link the Oromo liberation movement with fundamentalism and international terrorism is a fabrication to discredit and garner international community’s sympathy. http://www.africanexecutive.com/modules/magazine/article_print.php?article=5663

By Kasembeli Albert

The South Sudan crisis and the IGAD: The regional broker is the failure August 25, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, South Sudan.
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“The IGAD process was begun in haste, for good reason, since the situation was dire, but it suffers from some structural problems. It is a mediation, not a facilitation, and has tried to force antagonists to adopt positions they did not devise. This reduces the likelihood that they will honour any undertakings. Whilst there is advantage in having a regional body broker talks on its own turf, each member of IGAD has its own interests.  Ethiopia and Kenya are both partners and rivals while General Sumbeiywo, who chaired IGAD’s CPA process, is now subordinate to an Ethiopian diplomat, Seyoum Mesfin. Division amongst interested parties reduces leverage, credibility and the chances of success.”

 

“African Solutions To African Problems”?

“Some Thoughts on the IGAD Peace Process for South Sudan”

By Phillip Winter

http://www.gurtong.net/ECM/Editorial/tabid/124/ctl/ArticleView/mid/519/articleId/15559/African-Solutions-to-African-Problems.aspx#.U_sDrnpFVow.facebook
The current IGAD-led process to bring peace to South Sudan is adjourned; the parties have spent six months wrangling and have not properly honoured their commitment to a ceasefire and negotiation. The longer the process is stalled, the more public security in South Sudan deteriorates and the less control the government has. As in the period from 1989 to 2005, the international community is obliged once more to try to protect the population from the humanitarian consequences of state failure.

IGAD

The IGAD process was begun in haste, for good reason, since the situation was dire, but it suffers from some structural problems:

It is a mediation, not a facilitation, and has tried to force antagonists to adopt positions they did not devise. This reduces the likelihood that they will honour any undertakings.

Whilst there is advantage in having a regional body broker talks on its own turf, each member of IGAD has its own interests. Thus Uganda sent troops to protect a neighbouring government and Sudan too publicly supported Salva Kiir. Many nonetheless believe Sudan is also assisting the rebellion, backing both horses as it were, and would deal with Riek Machar if it concluded Salva’s government had become too weak to protect its oil income. Ethiopia and Kenya are both partners and rivals while General Sumbeiywo, who chaired IGAD’s CPA process, is now subordinate to an Ethiopian diplomat, Seyoum Mesfin. Division amongst interested parties reduces leverage, credibility and the chances of success.

iii) The May 9th Agreement is the one visible “roadmap” or negotiating framework. It is insufficiently detailed. By contrast, the DRC peace negotiations and transitional process, between 1999 and 2006, were based on the Lusaka Accord, which was also a ceasefire agreement with provision for a national political dialogue, military monitoring, a government of transition, elections and a new political dispensation. Crucially, the Accord also specified how the national dialogue was to be structured and who was to be represented there. The parties agreed on a facilitator, with the help of the AU and, after three years, the process was concluded when the transitional government took office in 2003.

iv) The lack of international leverage on the parties is striking, particularly when China, Malaysia and India have substantial oilfield investments at risk. The US and Troika can of course twist the diplomatic arm of the disputants and the US has begun a sanctions process, but it is regional sanctions, were they imposed, that would be most likely to work on the leadership of each side, since the region is probably where most leaders hold most of their assets and have interests that could be targeted. The only leverage with any chance of success is the combined efforts of all the interested nations.

When a Process Falters

At a comparable point in the DRC process in 2002, the EU and USA encouraged the government and MLC rebels to sign a bilateral agreement in the expectation that the RCD rebels would be forced to follow. They did not, and the whole process had to be brought back on the rails by a new stratagem. The then UNSG, Kofi Annan invited all interested parties, except for the Congolese, to an “informal consultation” in New York, at which the US government representative, one Charlie Snyder, came close to apologizing for supporting this failed initiative and urged the international community to “sing from the same song sheet” – i.e. adopt a common position on the way forward and leave the parties no room to wriggle out of their commitments.

The Congolese were outraged at not being invited to the meeting, but they got the message. Subsequently, with the help of Mustapha Niasse, Haile Menkerios , Thabo Mbeki and his team, this approach got the process back on the Lusaka track. The result was a final cessation of hostilities, a transitional government, credible elections and peace in eight out of eleven provinces. The remaining three in the eastern DRC proved beyond the capacity of the new government to stabilize (the Kivus and Oriental Province.) The UN could consider convening a similar informal meeting.

It is unlikely that IGAD’s role can be terminated or that the process will be allowed to collapse, but it may have to be reinforced. For example a figure from outside the region, such as Cyril Ramaphosa, who is already involved through the ANC, could be brought in to chair a reinvigorated process, retaining the three current envoys as advisors. Additionally, the Troika could encourage China to form a new group of backers, a quartet. This Quartet, the AU and the region would also make up whatever oversight body any eventual agreement requires.

Can This Process Work ?

In the case of South Sudan today, it is possible to discern the outlines of a way forward, troubled as the process is. Whilst the President, Salva Kiir, however compromised, is the elected president, his government reaches the end of its term in April 2015. Were he promised from that point on that he would benefit from a bodyguard, pension and secure retirement in Bahr el Ghazal, to be guaranteed by the AU, IGAD, and a Quartet, Salva Kiir might be persuaded to support negotiation of a transitional government before that date and then stand down on the expiry of his mandate.

Riek Machar, whose goal is clearly the presidency, has already said that he would not wish to be part of a government of transition, presumably calculating that it may fail and he would anyway need to build an electoral support base with his new opposition movement. He may also believe that, in case IGAD fails, the military option is his best chance of becoming president. Should he wish to adopt such a course, the AU, IGAD and Quartet together might be able to dissuade him.

If the two leaders can thus be put aside, the goal of the mediators would then be to use the time before April 2015 to devise with the parties and install a government of technocrats who would oversee a constitutional debate, some measure of national reconciliation and the preparation of elections in, say, 2018. Ideally any former politician would be entitled to stand in an eventual election but not to serve in the transitional government.

The only mechanism available for ensuring some credibility in such an election is the UN mission. The UN mission supported the successful referendum process in South Sudan in 2010-11, with much help from the US and the EU. MONUC performed a similar role in the DRC in 2006, when the US and EU also funded the process and the mission devoted considerable effort to making sure it was credible. If such support can succeed in the DRC and South Sudan, then it can be surely be repeated in South Sudan.

It is rumoured that the USA favours Pagan Amum as the leader of a transitional government. Whether this is or is not true, obvious support from a foreign power is in the end detrimental to the recipient. It would be better to let Pagan Amum take his chances in future elections and persuade the parties to agree on public figures without presidential ambition or a compromised past record as the leaders of the transition –Abel Alier, Bona Malwal and Francis Deng for example, with younger figures from the churches and civil society to back them up.

The objective would be to give the people of South Sudan a realistic chance of changing their leadership by democratic means. To have any chance of success, the transitional government would need to be overseen by a body such as CIAT (Comite pour l’Appui a la Transition) in the DRC, from 2003-6. This was a regular meeting of the UNSC P3 ambassadors, plus Belgium, South Africa, Angola and other interested nations, with the government. It was designed to review progress and hold all parties to what they had agreed. When it faltered, Thabo Mbeki, then still President of South Africa, intervened. Today, a putative Quartet for South Sudan, with the assent of the UNSC, AU and IGAD, would have to form some such mechanism of oversight and support.

Lastly, the transitional government, with the help of the AU and others, would need to devise a long term process of national reconciliation based upon a documenting of atrocities, if possible a listing of the dead, an acknowledgement of responsibility and, probably, the creation of hybrid courts as well. Should either Salva Kiir or Riek Machar be indicted by a hybrid court, they would have to take their chances, but ultimate impunity should not be offered by the mediators as an inducement to them to support a negotiated transition.

Any of the suggestions above may prove impossible to negotiate or to set up. They are nonetheless offered, based in part on a comparable experience in the DRC, as a contribution to the discussion of ways in which South Sudan can be kept from further collapse.

http://www.gurtong.net/ECM/Editorial/tabid/124/ctl/ArticleView/mid/519/articleId/15559/African-Solutions-to-African-Problems.aspx#.U_sDrnpFVow.facebook

 

 

 

 

South Sudan Crisis: Faulty Mediation Process

 

It is assumed and perceived that it is the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) that is mediating the South Sudan peace process, yet a closer look at the composition of the various teams and monitors established to deal with the crisis in the last 8 months, reveals a set up that is geared to fail-or perpetuate the crisis, rather than resolve the underlying issues.  Most importantly, it is a process which undermines the credibility, impartiality, and most of all the trust that is needed to bring the two sides together. It is completely dominated and guided by the Ethiopian regime, which is fully controlled by the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF).

It is also unclear how neutral regional governments are. Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya all appear to have taken positions in the conflict, and have strong bilateral interests in the outcome of the crisis.

Speaking of interests…it is Ethiopia (TPLFs) interests that are being advanced in the name of IGAD. Let us take a look into the composition of IGAD’s “Mediation Team”, “Monitoring and Verification Team”, and “Protection and Deterrent Force” and see how. Clearly, one can see Ethiopia’s (TPLF) pervasive presence, not just in the negotiation rooms, but also on the ground, including the peacekeeping missions in South Sudan.

http://stesfamariam.com/2014/08/27/south-sudan-crisis-faulty-mediation-process/

Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! TEdTalk from Italian aid worker Ernesto Sirolli August 24, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Aid to Africa, Development & Change.
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This is a fantastic and humorous TedTalk from Italian aid worker Ernesto Sirolli.

When most well-intentioned aid workers hear of a problem they think they can fix, they go to work. This, Ernesto Sirolli suggests, is naïve. In this funny and impassioned talk, he proposes that the first step is to listen to the people you’re trying to help, and tap into their own entrepreneurial spirit. His advice on what works will help any entrepreneur.

All 17 minutes are worth watching, but the first 3 or so are especially recommended. Enjoy!

http://www.ted.com/talks/ernesto_sirolli_want_to_help_someone_shut_up_and_listen#t-1053556

http://www.ted.com/speakers/ernesto_sirolli

The 25 Most Productive Ways to Spend Time on the Internet & More August 23, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Free ebooks, Project Gutenberg, The Oromo Library, Uncategorized.
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The 25 Most Productive Ways to Spend Time on the Internet  & more
It’s easy to forget that we have access to a virtually limitless resource of information, i.e. the Internet. For a lot of us, this is even true at our fingertips, thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones and an ever-increasing push for online greatness by tech engineers all over the world.
As a result, there are countless websites out there that are geared to make you smarter and more brilliant for either a low or no cost. Here are just 25 killer websites that may just make you more clever than ever before.

 

https://imgur.com/a/1S2u5/noscript

See also free  ebooks@ http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Category:Bookshelf

 

language-teaching website       http://www.duolingo.com/

Khan academy   https://www.khanacademy.org/

MIT Open Courseware http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm

 

Investopedia  http://www.investopedia.com/

 

Quora   http://www.quora.com/

Codeacademy   http://www.codecademy.com/

Geography http://www.factmonster.com/countries.html

TED    http://www.ted.com/

 

OneLook  http://www.onelook.com/

 

Couchsurfing   https://www.couchsurfing.org/

 

Lumosity   http://www.lumosity.com/

 

Information is Beautiful  http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/

Nerd Fitness     http://www.nerdfitness.com/

Cooking for Engineers  http://www.cookingforengineers.com/

The Dating Specialist    http://www.thedatingspecialist.com/

Spreeder     http://spreeder.com/

Anki    Mastering Recall  http://ankisrs.net/

CliffsNotes    School and College Study Guides and Test Prep  http://www.cliffsnotes.com/

Learn Street http://www.learnstreet.com/

HowStuffWorks http://www.howstuffworks.com/

The World Factbook https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/

Justin Guitar http://justinguitar.com/

Afaan Oromo                                          http://www.oromiffa.com/

Oromo Dictionary                           http://oromodictionary.com/

TIME

Answered by Manas Joshi for Quora

It’s easy to forget that we have access to a virtually limitless resource of information, i.e. the Internet. For a lot of us, this is even true at our fingertips, thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones and an ever-increasing push for online greatness by tech engineers all over the world.
As a result, there are countless websites out there that are geared to make you smarter and more brilliant for either a low or no cost. Here are just 25 killer websites that may just make you more clever than ever before.

1. Duolingo
This isn’t the first time I’ve recommended this language-teaching website (and app), and it certainly won’t be the last. Duolingo is a free version of Rosetta-Stone that delivers the same results: teaching you another language. Regular use of the site can have you speaking and writing Spanish, English, German, French…

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Government media in Ethiopia vs Scholars view of development: A stand-off paradox August 22, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Colonizing Structure, Development & Change, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Free development vs authoritarian model, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Jen & Josh (Ijoollee Amboo), Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Land Grabs in Oromia, Youth Unemployment.
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Government  media in Ethiopia vs Scholars view of development: A stand-off paradox

Ameyu Etana*

 

 

 

 

 

It has been more than a decade since DEVELOPMENT became a buzzword in Ethiopian Radio  and Television Agency. As ERTA is a pro-government media and  sponsored by the state, there is a strong probability to be under the guise of social responsibility theory when addressing issues. As it is common of using development journalism as an instrument in developmental states, likewise, the Ethiopian government is using media as a big power to making the public participating in development.  Television Agency (ERTA) and other media that are pro-government but run under the auspices of private media. Regrettably, probably, it is the most abused and corrupted word beyond what one could imagine. A name developmentalist came to develop a negative connotation for a journalist in Ethiopia. Quite number of academic researches has been done on the single nationwide media in Ethiopia, however; very little of them adduced and proved the professional nature of political power house of Ethiopian government, ERTA.

Ethiopia, a nation came to be a laboratory of political economy is a dish for choose and pick philosophy of politics. The political economy of Ethiopia is democratic developmental state. By their nature such states are repressive. And there has never been a country both democratic and developmental at a time except Ethiopia. Nevertheless, it seems, what we are seeing is not in accord with the political economy.

The Ethiopian government adopted United Nations General Assembly Resolution 41/128:1986. Alike, the right to development is one of the bill rights that had been included in the federal constitution of Ethiopia. Article 43 of FDRE constitution could depict this. To the contrary, mostly, what has been written and what has been practiced seems contradict each other.

As we know, what Ethiopian Television, Ethiopian Radio, Ethiopian Herald, Addis Zemen, Bariisaa, Ethiopian News Agency, Walta Information Center and other government driven media and/or news agency in Ethiopia and other whose names called under the guise of private but pro-government media view development as econometric (statistics use to view development e.g. economic development) view of development. As a result, any report that put Ethiopian development in number presumed to have high political benefit and get the major attention as it makes a headline. Infrastructure, number of investors, their capital, the KM of a road built, export and import quantities, number of graduates, number of higher institutions, and others are mostly at the desk of those media institution. Hence, what is seen is not the human side but the growth side as it uses to be.

Since the philosophy of state media in Ethiopia is development journalism, though wrongly interpreted, the issue of development vastly and exhaustively reported in a form of news, program, documentary, and other types of reports. However, most news are just a report as they lack interpretation while the journalist acts as a conduit than the one who produce it. I.e. Ethiopia is amongst the fastest growing economy in the world though third of its population lives in absolute poverty. In addition, there is been a big unequal economic distribution in the country and unemployment is getting higher albeit it is repeatedly told it is non-oil economy. If so, what is the benefit of jobless growth? Moreover, indigenous knowledge is ignored at the same time modern technology is also getting little attention by farmers, which is discrepancy right now in the country. As the journalism model, those media were supposed to critically examine and meticulously analyze issue that matters most to the people than merely reporting it.

The people of the country have long experienced the use of development for propaganda. Owing to this, it is difficult to identify the real concept of development in the mind of citizens. This resembles the sedative nature of the media in the country. Recently, journalists of Oromia Radio and Television Journalists (ORTO) did a deliberation on the controversial master plan of Addis Ababa, however, regrettably, they got an axe for the mere fact they did speak their mind. Hence, we can say that development is like politics in Ethiopia as it is untouched area to be opened for deliberation.

After all what is development? What scholars say about development? 

Several scholars held a debate for decades on what development is until they came to, probably; seems agree as it is all about human development. Lamentably, as Rita Abrahamsen puts it in her book called Disciplining Democracy: Development Discourse and Good Governance in Africa the issue of development became politicized, which is unfortunate as the world came to see help poor countries based on their political ideology they might have than favoring solely for being human.

The leading professor Amartya Sen in his book Development as Freedom which was published in 1999 argues development should be seen as a process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy. He contrasts the view of development with the widely prevalent concentration on the expansion of real income and on economic growth as the characteristics of successful development. Poverty, the flip side of development, means capability deprivation that inhibits citizen’s freedom to live, the reason they value most. As a result, development means an expansion of freedom.

For Amartya Sen Poverty is lack of choice, socioeconomic and political deprivation while development is a freedom or emancipation from poverty, empowerment of the people. Therefore, we simply understand us development is all about a people than merely numbers.

Similarly Michael Todaro in his book Economic Development argues that development must be seen as multidimensional process involving major changes in social structure, popular attitudes, and national institutions as well as the acceleration of economic growth, the reduction of inequality and the eradication of absolute poverty. And several scholars including Thomas Alan and others believed development is about empowering and emancipating people from the agony that make them suffer most than ignoring their existence.

Having looked at this, inopportunely we see the paradox in Ethiopia. In the name of development people has been ignored freedom; few are benefiting but millions are joining poverty if not struggling to survive. Rather than sensitizing them the media is pursuing sedative under the auspices of development as submissive people at large are being produced in the country seeing that the issue of development became not open for discussion and untouchable. Regrettably, in the name of investment and several projects, millions are being displaced from the land they presumes their only property they got from their forefathers but, are treated like ignorant who could serve nothing for the development. I.e. it is the residents of Addis Ababa that were deliberating over the contentious master plan for days on the lands of farmers surrounding Addis Ababa. How could this be the right way? By no means it is democratic or developmental? It is highly nonsense and absurd but not surprise as it uses to be in the country.

If development is for the people why do ignore them or why to treating them as against development? By its nature development is not merely road or building, it is about mind development. If the big asset for human, which is mind is not well set, how to manage the entire infrastructure? It seems everything is messed up in Ethiopia. Due to this, the wider public is feeling ignorant to the plans and strategies the government drafts each time.

Consequently, here in Ethiopia, under the guise of development thousands get prisoned, displaced, ignored, dehumanized, unnerved, denied capability, bottled in poverty, whereas, few get rich, empowered, emancipate in such a way to fasten andwiden the gap of living standards of citizens, which is shockingly inhuman. Inconveniently, for the development gained it is not the people but a party or officials get recognition as personal cult is common so far.

The other vital issue we should pay attention to is making the people the participant when the plan is drafted which mean making the people the source of development. If doing so, those who decide by themselves become responsible for the accomplishment, which is a big benefit for the ruled and for the ruler. However, this was not happening rather the people are assumed as ignorant mass that could have no role prior to drafting of the plan but after. http://mohiboni.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/government-herd-media-in-ethiopia-and.html

*Ameyu Etana is a journalist in Ethiopia and by now he is a graduate student at Addis Ababa University. Can be reached at: ameyuetana@gmail.com  You can follow and comment on his articles on mohiboni.blogspot.com and mohiboni.wordpress.com. All are encouraged to challenge. Any idea is welcomed as far as it has adduced. 

 

Family farming preserves traditional food products, while contributing to a balanced diet and safeguarding the world’s agro-biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources. August 22, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Food Production.
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Pictures: family Farming in Oromia

Family farming preserves traditional food products, while contributing to a balanced diet and safeguarding the world’s agro-biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources. FAO

http://www.fao.org/family-farming/en/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social+media&utm_campaign=fao+facebook

Family farming includes all family-based agricultural activities, and it is linked to several areas of rural development. Family farming is a means of organizing agricultural, forestry, fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture production which is managed and operated by a family and predominantly reliant on family labour, including both women’s and men’s.

Both in developing and developed countries, family farming is the predominant form of agriculture in the food production sector.

Family and small-scale farming are inextricably linked to world food security. Both in developing and developed countries, family farming is the predominant form of agriculture in the food production sector. Family farmers carefully manage their lands to sustain remarkably high levels of productivity despite having less access to productive resources such as agricultural inputs and support (most research shows an inverse relationship between land size and productivity).

Family farming preserves traditional food products, while contributing to a balanced diet and safeguarding the world’s agro-biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources. Family farmers are the custodians of a finely adapted understanding of local ecologies and land capabilities. Through local knowledge, they sustain productivity on often marginal lands, through complex and innovative land management techniques. As a result of the intimate knowledge they have of their land and their ability to sustainably manage diverse landscapes, family farmers are able to improve many ecosystem services.

Family farming represents an opportunity to boost local economies,especially when combined with specific policies aimed at social protection and well-being of communities. Family farmers have strong economic links to the rural sector; they contribute strongly to employment, especially in developing countries where agriculture still employs the majority of the labour force. In addition, the incremental income generated by family farming is spent on housing, education, clothing etc. in the local non-farm economy.

How to strengthen family farming?

To realize the full potential of family farmers in eradicating hunger and ensuring food security, an enabling policy environment is necessary. This includes greater recognition of their multiple contributions, as well as an acknowledgment and reflection of these in national dialogues and policies. Fundamental first steps are for countries to articulate their national definitions of family farming, and collect data on the agricultural sector that recognizes and organizes farmers’ contributions systematically.

At national level, there are a number of factors that are key for a successful development of family farming, such as: agro-ecological conditions and territorial characteristics; access to markets; access to land and natural resources; access to technology and extension services; access to finance; demographic, economic and sociocultural conditions and availability of specialized education among others. Targeted agricultural, environmental and social policy interventions in support of family farmers are necessary in order to make tangible changes and sustainable improvements.

The International Year of Family Farming

The United Nations declared 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in collaboration with Governments, International Development Agencies, farmers’ organizations and
other relevant organizations of the United Nations system, as well as relevant non-governmental organizations, is facilitating its implementation with the following objectives:

  1. Support the development of agricultural, environmental and social policies conducive to sustainable family farming
  2. Increase knowledge, communication and public awareness
  3. Attain better understanding of family farming needs, potential and constraints and ensure technical support
  4. Create synergies for sustainability

Read more @http://www.fao.org/family-farming/en/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social+media&utm_campaign=fao+facebook

 

False accounting & the great ‘poverty reduction’ lie August 21, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt, Africa Rising, African Poor, Colonizing Structure, Development & Change, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Free development vs authoritarian model, Oromia, Poverty, The extents and dimensions of poverty in Ethiopia, UN's New Sustainable Development Goals, Youth Unemployment.
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Poverty

Exposing the great ‘poverty reduction’ lie

Jason Hickel* @ Aljazeera Opinion

 

The UN claims that its Millennium Development Campaign has reduced poverty globally, an assertion that is far from true.

 

 

The received wisdom comes to us from all directions: Poverty rates are declining and extreme poverty will soon be eradicated. The World Bank, the governments of wealthy countries, and – most importantly – the United Nations Millennium Campaign all agree on this narrative. Relax, they tell us. The world is getting better, thanks to the spread of free market capitalism and western aid. Development is working, and soon, one day in the very near future, poverty will be no more.

It is a comforting story, but unfortunately it is just not true. Poverty is not disappearing as quickly as they say. In fact, according to some measures, poverty has been getting significantly worse. If we are to be serious about eradicating poverty, we need to cut through the sugarcoating and face up to some hard facts.

False accounting

The most powerful expression of the poverty reduction narrative comes from the UN’s Millennium Campaign. Building on the Millennium Declaration of 2000, the Campaign’s main goal has been to reduce global poverty by half by 2015 – an objective that it proudly claims to have achieved ahead of schedule. But if we look beyond the celebratory rhetoric, it becomes clear that this assertion is deeply misleading.

The world’s governments first pledged to end extreme poverty during the World Food Summit in Rome in 1996. They committed to reducing the number of undernourished people by half before 2015, which, given the population at the time, meant slashing the poverty headcount by 836 million. Many critics claimed that this goal was inadequate given that, with the right redistributive policies, extreme poverty could be ended much more quickly.

But instead of making the goals more robust, global leaders surreptitiously diluted it. Yale professor and development watchdog Thomas Pogge points out that when the Millennium Declaration was signed, the goal was rewritten as “Millennium Developmental Goal 1” (MDG-1) and was altered to halve the proportion (as opposed to the absolute number) of the world’s people living on less than a dollar a day. By shifting the focus to income levels and switching from absolute numbers to proportional ones, the target became much easier to achieve. Given the rate of population growth, the new goal was effectively reduced by 167 million. And that was just the beginning.

After the UN General Assembly adopted MDG-1, the goal was diluted two more times. First, they changed it from halving the proportion of impoverished people in the world to halving the proportion of impoverished people in developing countries, thus taking advantage of an even faster-growing demographic denominator. Second, they moved the baseline of analysis from 2000 back to 1990, thus retroactively including all poverty reduction accomplished by China throughout the 1990s, due in no part whatsoever to the Millennium Campaign.

This statistical sleight-of-hand narrowed the target by a further 324 million. So what started as a goal to reduce the poverty headcount by 836 million has magically become only 345 million – less than half the original number. Having dramatically redefined the goal, the Millennium Campaign can claim that poverty has been halved when in fact it has not. The triumphalist narrative hailing the death of poverty rests on an illusion of deceitful accounting.

Poor numbers

But there’s more. Not only have the goalposts been moved, the definition of poverty itself has been massaged in a way that serves the poverty reduction narrative. What is considered the threshold for poverty – the “poverty line” – is normally calculated by each nation for itself, and is supposed to reflect what an average human adult needs to subsist. In 1990, Martin Ravallion, an Australian economist at the World Bank, noticed that the poverty lines of a group of the world’s poorest countries clustered around $1 per day. On Ravallion’s recommendation, the World Bank adopted this as the first-ever International Poverty Line (IPL).

But the IPL proved to be somewhat troublesome. Using this threshold, the World Bank announced in its 2000 annual report that “the absolute number of those living on $1 per day or less continues to increase. The worldwide total rose from 1.2 billion in 1987 to 1.5 billion today and, if recent trends persist, will reach 1.9 billion by 2015.” This was alarming news, especially because it suggested that the free-market reforms imposed by the World Bank and the IMF on Global South countries during the 1980s and 1990s in the name of “development” were actually making things worse.

This amounted to a PR nightmare for the World Bank. Not long after the report was released, however, their story changed dramatically and they announced the exact opposite news: While poverty had been increasing steadily for some two centuries, they said, the introduction of free-market policies had actually reduced the number of impoverished people by 400 million between 1981 and 2001.

This new story was possible because the Bank shifted the IPL from the original $1.02 (at 1985 PPP) to $1.08 (at 1993 PPP), which, given inflation, was lower in real terms. With this tiny change – a flick of an economist’s wrist – the world was magically getting better, and the Bank’s PR problem was instantly averted. This new IPL is the one that the Millennium Campaign chose to adopt.

The IPL was changed a second time in 2008, to $1.25 (at 2005 PPP). And once again the story improved overnight. The $1.08 IPL made it seem as though the poverty headcount had been reduced by 316 million people between 1990 and 2005. But the new IPL – even lower than the last, in real terms – inflated the number to 437 million, creating the illusion that an additional 121 million souls had been “saved” from the jaws of debilitating poverty. Not surprisingly, the Millennium Campaign adopted the new IPL, which allowed it to claim yet further chimerical gains.

A more honest view of poverty

We need to seriously rethink these poverty metrics. The dollar-a-day IPL is based on the national poverty lines of the 15 poorest countries, but these lines provide a poor foundation given that many are set by bureaucrats with very little data. More importantly, they tell us nothing about what poverty is like in wealthier countries. A 1990 survey in Sri Lanka found that 35 percent of the population fell under the national poverty line. But the World Bank, using the IPL, reported only 4 percent in the same year. In other words, the IPL makes poverty seem much less serious than it actually is.

The present IPL theoretically reflects what $1.25 could buy in the United States in 2005. But people who live in the US know it is impossible to survive on this amount. The prospect is laughable. In fact, the US government itself calculated that in 2005 the average person needed at least $4.50 per day simply to meet minimum nutritional requirements. The same story can be told in many other countries, where a dollar a day is inadequate for human existence. In India, for example, children living just above the IPL still have a 60 percent chance of being malnourished.

According to Peter Edwards of Newcastle University, if people are to achieve normal life expectancy, they need roughly double the current IPL, or a minimum of $2.50 per day. But adopting this higher standard would seriously undermine the poverty reduction narrative. An IPL of $2.50 shows a poverty headcount of around 3.1 billion, almost triple what the World Bank and the Millennium Campaign would have us believe. It also shows that poverty is getting worse, not better, with nearly 353 million more people impoverished today than in 1981. With China taken out of the equation, that number shoots up to 852 million.

Some economists go further and advocate for an IPL of $5 or even $10 – the upper boundary suggested by the World Bank. At this standard, we see that some 5.1 billion people – nearly 80 percent of the world’s population – are living in poverty today. And the number is rising.

These more accurate parameters suggest that the story of global poverty is much worse than the spin doctored versions we are accustomed to hearing. The $1.25 threshold is absurdly low, but it remains in favour because it is the only baseline that shows any progress in the fight against poverty, and therefore justifies the present economic order. Every other line tells the opposite story. In fact, even the $1.25 line shows that, without factoring China, the poverty headcount is worsening, with 108 million people added to the ranks of the poor since 1981. All of this calls the triumphalist narrative into question.

A call for change

This is a pressing concern; the UN is currently negotiating the new Sustainable Development Goals that will replace the Millennium Campaign in 2015, and they are set to use the same dishonest poverty metrics as before. They will leverage the “poverty reduction” story to argue for business as usual: stick with the status quo and things will keep getting better. We need to demand more. If the Sustainable Development Goals are to have any real value, they need to begin with a more honest poverty line – at least $2.50 per day – and instate rules to preclude the kind of deceit that the World Bank and the Millennium Campaign have practised to date.

Eradicating poverty in this more meaningful sense will require more than just using aid to tinker around the edges of the problem. It will require changing the rules of the global economy to make it fairer for the world’s majority. Rich country governments will resist such changes with all their might. But epic problems require courageous solutions, and, with 2015 fast approaching, the moment to act is now. Read more @original source http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/08/exposing-great-poverty-reductio-201481211590729809.html

*Dr Jason Hickel lectures at the London School of Economics and serves as an adviser to /The Rules. 

Oromia: The Oldest Oromo Civic Association, Macha-Tulama Marks 50th year Anniversary Celebration August 20, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Humanity and Social Civilization, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Macha & Tulama Association, Oromian Voices, Oromians Protests, Oromo and the call for justice and freedom, Oromo Culture, Oromo Diaspora, Oromo First, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Oromo students movement, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Safuu: the Oromo moral value and doctrine, Self determination, State of Oromia, Waldaa Maccaa fi Tulamaa.
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MachaTulama2014_AfanOromoMacha-tulama-300x147.jpg

 

Some of the Founders of the Macha-Tulama Association; Photo: Public Domain
 

FOR OROMO, ‘SURVIVAL ITSELF IS A REVOLUTIONARY ACT

 AyantuTibeso

August 5, 2014  Published in Opride Contributors

ayantuT

 

It is a great honor to be part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Macha Tulama Association. For a people facing complete erasure, survival itself is a revolutionary act.

The fact that we are gathered here today to honor the founding of Macha Tulama 50 years ago speaks to the fact that despite all odds, we, as a people are survivors. Ethiopian history is full of attempts to annihilate the Oromo—culturally, politically, socially, economically, in all and every ways possible.

Oromos — cast as foreign, aliens to their own lands, have been the targets of the entire infrastructure of the Ethiopian state since their violent incorporation. Our identity, primarily language, religion and belief systems and cultural heritage have been the main targets of wanton destruction.

Oromo and its personhood were already demonized, characterized as embodiments of all that is inferior, shameful and subhuman from the beginning. Oromo people were economically and politically exploited, dominated and alienated.

Oromo cultural, political and religious institutions have been under massive attacks and dismantlement by consecutive Ethiopian governments. Oromos were rendered slaves on their own lands by a colonial land tenure system.

Given the huge systematic and structural forces that have been mobilized against Oromo people and its peoplehood, it is truly astonishing that we have survived. But we have survived not by some miracle, but because our ancestors have continuously resisted violent assimilation, dehumanization, economic exploitation, and complete eradication.

We have survived because our people have courageously and wisely Organized, sang, fought and sacrificed. We have survived because of brilliantly organized Oromo institutions such as Macha Tulama, which have held our communities together.

For five decades, this organization has been the vanguard of the Oromo people’s struggle for freedom, liberty and autonomy. Macha Tulama was conceived at a time when Oromo people desperately needed institutions that would provide direction, leadership, and mobilize the financial, human, intellectual and creative resources to empower Oromo communities.

The 50th Golden Jubilee Anniversary Celebration of Macha-Tulama Association at Washington DC, 1st August 2014
 
The upcoming 50th Anniversary Celebration of Macha-Tulama Association (MTA).
This historic event will be held on August 1, 2014 in Washington DC.
Please allow us to explain once again why this celebration will be held in Washington DC, thousands of miles away from Ethiopia.
The story of the establishment of the Macha-Tulama Association was an event of great drama and wonder that has captured the imagination of the Oromo public since 1963, while its banning in 1967 is story of epic proportion which demonstrates Oromo powerlessness in Ethiopia. History of modern Ethiopia includes few cases of injustice and open discrimination equal to the banning of the first Oromo peaceful civic organization, which has come to symbolize the condition of the Oromo nation under successive Ethiopian regimes to the extent that in 2014, the Oromo who constitute the single largest national group in Ethiopia, are not allowed even to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their oldest civic organization in their own country.
The leaders of the Macha-Tulama Association came together from different parts of Oromia. They have become the symbol of courage and sacrifices that have propelled millions of Oromo into organized motion. Firm as their grasp of reality, they looked upon peaceful resistance with a boldness of imagination unsurpassed in modern Ethiopian history. What spirit was it that moved them, made them accept sufferings, torture, imprison­ment, loss of property, breakup of families and loss of life itself? Without a doubt, it was the spirit of Oromo political awakening that propelled these men and women onto a new historical stage. They became the organizational expression of Oromo national consciousness. Through their struggle and sacrifices, they won a lasting place in the hearts of the Oromo nation. Within four short years the leaders of Association not only united and provided the Oromo with central leadership, but also made them conscious of their unity and their dehumanization as second-class subjects and inspired them to be agents for their freedom and human dignity. The 50th anniversary celebration is organized for honoring the sacrifices made by the leaders and members of Macha-Tulama Association and for keeping alive the spirit of freedom and human dignity for which they struggled.
Without any doubt it was the Macha-Tulama Association that planted the tree of Oromo political consciousness. The limited gains the Oromo achieved since the 1970s was the fruit from that tree of political consciousness. The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, which has dominated Ethiopian government since 1991, is determined to deprive the Oromo of any independent organization by banning the Macha-Tulama Association, detaining its leaders from time to time and confiscating its property, thereby demonstrating the utter absence of the rule of law in Ethiopia.
We believe that you feel the pain and the daily humiliation of our people who are even denied the simplest right of celebrating the 50th anniversary of their oldest country-wide civic organization in their own country. Those of us who live in freedom beyond the tyranny of the TPLF regime have moral responsibility for supporting the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Macha-Tulama Association. It will give us a wonderful opportunity for informing the Western world that the Oromo and other peoples in Ethiopia are denied their basic human and democratic rights in their own country. What is greater shame for the TPLF regime that beats the empty drum of democracy than denying the Oromo the right to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their civic organization? Together, let us expose the brutality of the Ethiopian regime and lift up the spirit of our people. Now is the time for those of who are interested in freedom, democracy and the rule of law in Ethiopia to rise to the challenge of publicizing the 50th anniversary celebration so that more people will know about the tyrannical TPLF regime.
The plan of the day is:
· Demonstration at 9AM, gathering in front of the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW.
· Marching to US State Department, 2200 C St, NW, at 11AM – ending at 1PM.
· Official Celebration at the Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine, 4250 Harewood Rd, NE, Washington, DC 20017, starting at 4:30PM.
· Continuing with Oromo Cultural Evening at the Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine until midnight.
Please join us so that we joyously celebrate together the 50th anniversary of the Macha-Tulama Association and demonstrate to the TPLF leaders that they will never be able to kill the spirit of freedom and human dignity that the Macha-Tulama Association planted in the heart, mind and soul of the Oromo nation.
We thank you for your cooperation in this noble undertaking.
Respectfully,
MTA 50th Anniversary Organizing Team

 

http://freeoromia.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/banned-by-tplf-ethiopian-regime-oldest.html

 

 

Land Grabbing and the Threat to Local Land Rights August 19, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Free development vs authoritarian model, Genocidal Master plan of Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Land Grabs in Oromia, Oromo Protests, Oromo Protests in Ambo, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Stop evicting Oromo people from Cities, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The extents and dimensions of poverty in Ethiopia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia.
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Video:Land grab in Oromia, displacement of Oromo People in Ethiopia and environmental disaster

See also  http://freedomfororomo.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/deforestation-and-land-grabbing-by-the-neo-neftegna-tplf-in-the-unesco-registered-yayu-coffee-forest-biosphere-reserve-illuu-abbaa-booraa-western-oromia/

Land grabbing increased in 2008, when price shocks in the food market alerted the world to the finite limits of food production. From this came a rush to acquire farmland all over the globe and a dramatic increase in the value of arable land. “Land acquisitions,” as they are termed by their proponents, are the latest weapon in the arsenal of conventional development. Although it is claimed that they alleviate poverty and increase technological transfer, employment, and food security, the “grabs” have a range of other motives. Some are politically driven, some provide new markets for corporations, others provide food security for far-off nations. The “grabbers” range from elite businessmen to governments to multinational corporations and are not defined by any one particular demographic.

In Tanzania, the wild Serengeti Desert, home to elephants, lions and a host of other magnificent wildlife, is being carved up as Middle Eastern businessmen purchase huge parcels of land for private hunting rights. The Serengeti is home to the pastoral Masai people, who are now restricted to smaller and smaller territories. As a result they are not only being criminalized for trespassing on their ancestral lands, they are accused of over-grazing and degrading ecosystems as their herds no longer have enough room to graze without impacting grasslands.

In nearby Ethiopia, the government of the Gambela region has enacted a “Villagization” program that promises new schools, wells, medical facilities, and general infrastructure to relocated communities. Unfortunately, these promises have rarely materialized and more often than not the “villagization” process has resembled the violent forcing of communities into state-designated camps, in a process that is clearing the way for foreign agribusiness. Those that stay put in their ancestral homes often find themselves surrounded by new plantations. Two concessions of 25,000 acres and 250,000 acres are currently under development by a Saudi oil billionaire and an Indian flower agribusiness for 60 and 50 years, respectively. The latter, Karuturi Global, is growing oil palm, corn, sorghum, rice, and sugarcane for export back to India, using a labor pool comprised primarily of Indians or Ethiopians from other regions. Karuturi Global pays a measly $2.50 per acre annually – little to none of which is seen by local residents. A few local tribespeople now work for the company, although this is usually because they were left with no choice, their own land having been taken or degraded. These tribespeople used to earn their livelihoods by hunting, fishing, and making honey. When the company began cutting down the forest the bees and the animals vanished; now that the company has started draining the wetlands, the fish will soon be gone too. http://theeconomicsofhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/land-grabbing-and-the-threat-to-local-land-rights/

 

Land Grabbing and the Threat to Local Land Rights

By Sophie Weiss*

 

In recent years, foreign governments and multinational corporations have bought or leased huge tracts of sovereign land in the developing world, converting much of it to industrialized agriculture for export. This “land grabbing” – now widespread across Africa and Asia – is most common in nations with the least secure land tenure systems. Usually the land transfers involve land occupied by indigenous communities; often they are not legally registered as landholders and can be easily evicted. In terms of both ecological and cultural impacts, land grabbing has emerged as one of the most painful manifestations of the globalized economy in the 21stCentury.

Land grabbing increased in 2008, when price shocks in the food market alerted the world to the finite limits of food production. From this came a rush to acquire farmland all over the globe and a dramatic increase in the value of arable land. “Land acquisitions,” as they are termed by their proponents, are the latest weapon in the arsenal of conventional development. Although it is claimed that they alleviate poverty and increase technological transfer, employment, and food security, the “grabs” have a range of other motives. Some are politically driven, some provide new markets for corporations, others provide food security for far-off nations. The “grabbers” range from elite businessmen to governments to multinational corporations and are not defined by any one particular demographic. Many organizations have attempted to estimate how many acres are involved, though there is no central registry and little transparency. The World Bank claimed 120 million acres were transferred in 2010, while Oxfam gave a figure of 560 million acres*.

In Tanzania, the wild Serengeti Desert, home to elephants, lions and a host of other magnificent wildlife, is being carved up as Middle Eastern businessmen purchase huge parcels of land for private hunting rights. The Serengeti is home to the pastoral Masai people, who are now restricted to smaller and smaller territories. As a result they are not only being criminalized for trespassing on their ancestral lands, they are accused of over-grazing and degrading ecosystems as their herds no longer have enough room to graze without impacting grasslands.

In nearby Ethiopia, the government of the Gambela region has enacted a “Villagization” program that promises new schools, wells, medical facilities, and general infrastructure to relocated communities. Unfortunately, these promises have rarely materialized and more often than not the “villagization” process has resembled the violent forcing of communities into state-designated camps, in a process that is clearing the way for foreign agribusiness. Those that stay put in their ancestral homes often find themselves surrounded by new plantations. Two concessions of 25,000 acres and 250,000 acres are currently under development by a Saudi oil billionaire and an Indian flower agribusiness for 60 and 50 years, respectively. The latter, Karuturi Global, is growing oil palm, corn, sorghum, rice, and sugarcane for export back to India, using a labor pool comprised primarily of Indians or Ethiopians from other regions. Karuturi Global pays a measly $2.50 per acre annually – little to none of which is seen by local residents. A few local tribespeople now work for the company, although this is usually because they were left with no choice, their own land having been taken or degraded. These tribespeople used to earn their livelihoods by hunting, fishing, and making honey. When the company began cutting down the forest the bees and the animals vanished; now that the company has started draining the wetlands, the fish will soon be gone too.

In Sri Lanka, instability has given land grabbers the advantage as the country transitions out of a bloody 30-year civil war. During the conflict, the Sinhala Buddhist government claimed several large pieces of land as High Security Zones (HSZ), conveniently located in Tamil territories. In these seizures, local families were evicted from their lands in the name of security. Now that the war is over, the validity of the HSZs has come into question, but instead of returning the land to its original tenders, the government is converting many of the HSZs into Economic Processing Zones and Special Economic Zones, commonly contracting them out to large Chinese and Vietnamese corporations. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils are relegated to “displaced person camps” with little or no access to resources.

These are only a few of the heart-wrenching examples of land deals across the globe. Large-scale land transfers like these remove all human connection from land management. If the land grabbing trend continues, we could be witnessing the true end of the commons everywhere.

While proponents claim that these land acquisitions provide development to needy regions in the form of technology transfer and employment, these lofty claims require scrutiny. Is this kind of “employment” what is needed or desired among local people? How will technology transfer help them and what kind of technology is needed? In a region thriving on small-scale farming, are large tractors and bulldozers really of any benefit?

First and foremost, what local peoClare-Douglas-A-Young-Gardener-Tanzaniaple need to prosper are secure land rights. Then they can make choices about the technologies they want to adopt, and about how their land can be managed for the benefit of the local communities, economies and ecosystems. To this end, we need an international legal framework that restricts and regulates the ability of foreign businesses to acquire land. Regulations need to limit the size of land deals, ensuring accountability and justice for the communities and ecosystems impacted.

It speaks to the disconnection between governments and indigenous/rural peoples that the land grabbing trend continues to grow; and it speaks to the cruelty of a deregulated global economy that it allows massive industrialized food production for export from the lands of those who are already hungry. Land grabbing may seem a distant problem for those of us outside the regions where it is taking place, but we also have a role to play. Often we don’t know what we are supporting when we buy mass-produced products from global corporations. By keeping our purchases within our local communities, we are keeping our money where we can see it – supporting businesses and communities in our own backyard, rather than enabling corporations to steal someone else’s on the other side of the world. This kind of localization – at the policy and grassroots levels – empowers communities everywhere to defend their relationship to their land, and honors the deep connection and intimate dialogue between cultures and ecosystems. Read more @http://theeconomicsofhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/land-grabbing-and-the-threat-to-local-land-rights/

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*Sophie Weiss is an intern with Local Futures. She graduated with a BA concentration in Geography/International Development Studies from Sarah Lawrence College. She is a printmaker, designer, and critical geography researcher, focusing on indigenous land rights and anti-land grab advocacy for the Oakland Institute, a policy think tank based in Oakland, California.

Africa’s Jobless Growth: Economic success just for a few cannot be a replacement for human rights or participation, or democracy August 18, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, African Poor, Aid to Africa, Development & Change, Dictatorship, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Youth Unemployment.
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Africa is Rising! At Least Its 1% Is

Africa’s economy may be booming, but this will do little to help unemployment and poverty if growth is jobless and its spoils are limited to the few.

What we need in Africa is balanced development. Economic success cannot be a replacement for human rights or participation, or democracy … it doesn’t work…it worries us a lot when we don’t see the trickle-through factor, when gain goes to the top 1% or 2%, leaving the rest behind.” – Mo Ibrahim October 15, 2012

It did not come as a surprise to many when, on October 15, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation announced that there was no winner for its annual $5 million African leadership award – for the third time since its inception in 2006. What was surprising, however, was that the foundation’s chair, British-Sudanese billionaire Mo Ibrahim, alsoadmonished the much-celebrated recent economic ‘success’ of the African continent for largely failing to translate into better human rights and social development, and for essentially creating a few elitist winners at the top whilst the rest were left struggling at the very bottom.

Recent reports, forecasts and editorials of influential financial magazines are incredibly optimisticabout Africa – its booming economic growth, its investment opportunities and its growing middle-class. Sub-Saharan African countries are reportedly among the fastest growing in the world with six out of ten world’s fastest growing economies, and recording growth rates averaging 4.9%, higher than the developing country average and much higher than the developed country average.

The Economist’s December 2011 print issue was boldly titled ‘Africa Rises’ and in August 2012, it again boldly proclaimed that ‘A Continent Goes Shopping’, underscoring the voracious purchasing power of the African middle-class to buy consumer and even luxury goods. The current received wisdom in these sleek reports, glossy magazine pages and glass-panelled conference rooms is that sub-Saharan Africa really is the place to be and to invest in, with all its abundant opportunities.

Jobless growth

This much-trumpeted economic success is mostly true, until one looks at the other side. Then questions arise over to what extent growth is spread across sectors of the economy, and whether such economic growth is translating into corresponding improvements in human and social development.

It is common knowledge that this new dawn of booming economic growth is largely the consequence of the recent rise in the global commodity prices of natural resources, chiefly oil, while the vibrancy of other sectors of the economy such as banking, telecommunications and construction trail behind in terms of growth. Many African countries primarily depend on the exportation of natural resources – and industry which is highly capital- (and technology-) intensive, providing few jobs. Only five of Africa’s fifty-four countries are currently not “either producing or looking for oil”.

It is therefore no surprise that many African countries, especially the economic powerhouses of the continent, are bedevilled by high unemployment, particularly amongst young people – hovering at25% in Egypt, 48% in South Africa and 42% in Nigeria. Thus, growth in capital-intensive sectors – such as resource exports, banking, and telecommunications – is barely trickling down to create jobs and economic opportunities for the vast majority of the people – a phenomenon commonly known as ‘jobless growth’.

Many sub-Saharan African countries experiencing record-level economic growth still have low rankings in human development indices, despite marginal improvements in education enrolment and, with countrywide variations, maternal health. This contradiction is further reinforced by the growing inequality that characterises many of such African ‘powerhouses’. Luanda in Angola (thanks to flowing petro-dollars) and N’Djamena in Chad were, respectively, the second and eighth most expensive cities to live as an expatriate in 2012 – ahead of Sydney, London and New York according to Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey. Juba in the newly independent South Sudan is also gaining notoriety for its high cost of living, while the price of select real estate in Abuja and Lagos in Nigeria reportedly rivals that of some Western cities. These expensive cities are in countries grouped within the ‘Low Human Development’ category of the United Nation’s Human Development Index based on indicators such as health, income and education.

A tale of two cities

There has certainly been some improvement – for one, there is now an identifiable middle-class in Africa with money to splash around in the cinemas of Abuja and pricey hotels of Accra, the malls and retail outlets of Johannesburg and the exclusive residential estates of Lagos and Nairobi. However, once you step out of these glitzy inner cities and look to the outskirts, the glaring contrast between the shiny modernity and the urban deprivation in the slums hits you like the searing tropical sun.

 

The task thus remains for governments to devise sustainable development strategies that are tailored specifically to suit the African context. Such strategies must sustain the momentum of economic growth while ensuring that growth spreads to and strengthens sectors such as mechanised agriculture, light manufacturing and small-scale enterprises, which have a direct impact on the lives and incomes of citizens.

Such transformational policies should ensure that revenue windfalls are utilised wisely towards social and welfare policies, which will empower millions of Africans out of poverty, thereby creating a robust middle-class rather than just enriching an already existing sliver. It also means that such funds can be saved to help with later needs, as with the Sovereign Wealth Fund embarked on by countries such as Angola and the new oil-producer Ghana.

Importantly, the African youth bulge needs to be transformed into a demographic dividend by providing employment and economic opportunities to an increasingly educated African youth and by providing critically needed infrastructure so that abundant innovative ideas, which are capable of transforming lives and societies, can materialise into reality.

Ultimately, these are still governance challenges that Africa has a long way go to overcome, but the marginal improvements in some aspects of governance, especially women’s rights, as the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s Index has shown, gives room for some cautious optimism. Mo Ibrahim’s admonishment could not have come at a better time.

Read @ it original source:http://thinkafricapress.com/development/mo-ibrahim-issues-timely-caution-afro-optimists?utm_content=buffer46624&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

*Zainab Usman is a Nigerian freelance writer. She is currently a DPhil candidate at the University of Oxford in Governance and Political Economy of Economic Diversification in Sub-Saharan Africa. She has a BSc in International Studies from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and a Masters in International Political Economy and Development from the University of Birmingham. Zainab is an advocate of good governance, poverty reduction and women and youth empowerment. She regularly blogs atzainabusman.wordpress.com.

Ethiopia’s capital flight is estimated at US$24.9 billion or 83.8% of the GDP August 18, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt, Africa Rising, Ethiopia & World Press Index 2014, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The extents and dimensions of poverty in Ethiopia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Tyranny, UK Aid Should Respect Rights, US-Africa Summit.
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The term capital flight has been given many interpretations in the economic literature and in the  press, leading to confusion and misinterpretations. In the popular press, capital flight is presented as illegal or illicit financial flows. It is housed in the same domain as money laundering, tax  evasion, transfer pricing, underground trafficking. Yet, while these activities are illicit, not all of  them amount to capital flight. At the same time, while most capital flight may be deemed illicit. Capital flight may be illicit in one of three ways: when it consists of money acquired illegally and transferred  abroad; when funds are transferred abroad illicitly by violating capital account regulations; when capital is hidden abroad and therefore not being subject to taxation and other government regulations. It is not possible to make this determination a priori from the data that is used to calculate capital flight, which involves a reconciliation of recorded capital inflows (mainly external borrowing and foreign direct investment) and the use of these resources (to cover the current account deficit and accumulation of reserves). The term capital flight means capital flows from a country that are not recorded in the country’s Balance of Payments (BoP). If all the ransactions were correctly and systematically recorded, inflows would balance out with outflows, except for small and random statistical errors as recorded in the ‘net errors and omissions’ line of the BoP. Where large discrepancies are observed, in other words, where there is  substantial ‘missing money’ in the BoP, this is taken as an indication of the presence of capital  flight.

 http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/working_papers/working_papers_351-400/WP353.pdf

Ethiopia’s capital flight is estimated at US$24.9 billion or 83.8% of the GDP

 

capital_flight

(Source: Political Economy Research Institute, the University of Massachusetts).

 

 

August 17, 2014 (PERI Research) — Ethiopia’s capital flight is estimated at about US$24.9 billion which is 83.8% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Ethiopia is ranked 8th in the group of 33 countries for which data are available but it stands first when compared to non-oil and/or mineral exporting countries. Even the latter was considered to be substantially lower than the actual flows give that large stock of immigrants. The true figure could be as high as one billion dollars. If so, Ethiopian capital flight would be commensurately larger than the estimated.

 

Capital losses through trade misinvoicing and unrecorded remittance
Substantial export underinvoicning (net outflows) couple with import underinvoicing (net inflows), with the balance resulting in a net outflow, as in the case of Sudan or a net inflow, as in the cases of Ethiopia and Ghana.

Unrecoreded remittances also contribute substantially to estimated capital flight in some countries. In Ethiopia, the volume of remittances reported by the World Bank in 2010 was about half the amount reported by the Central Bank ($661 million).

The following figures are in millions

capital_flight3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Source: Political Economy Research Institute, the University of Massachusetts).

http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/ethiopias-capital-flight-is-estimated-at-us24-9-billion-or-83-8-of-the-gdp/

http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/ADP/SSAfrica_capitalflight_Oct23_2012.pdf

http://concernedafricascholars.org/bulletin/issue87/asiedu/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oromia Against the Tyranny of Ethiopia: A Generation, Fearless of Death and Detention, Will Crumble Mountains August 17, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Amane Badhaso, Ambo, Ayantu Tibeso, Colonizing Structure, Development & Change, Dictatorship, Ethiopia & World Press Index 2014, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Finfinne is Oromia's land, Finfinnee, Finfinnee is the Capital City of Oromia, Genocidal Master plan of Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, NO to the Evictions of Oromo Nationals from Finfinnee (Central Oromia), Oromia Support Group Australia, Oromians Protests, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo and the call for justice and freedom, Oromo Culture, Oromo Identity, State of Oromia, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, UK Aid Should Respect Rights.
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A Generation, Fearless of Death and Detention, Will Crumble Mountains

By Firehiwot Guluma Tezera*

There is an Ethiopian saying, “one would lose what one has in the hand while reaching for more from the upper shelf.” While this selfish individual tries to get hold of more, what one has already have will be scattered all over the place. Lately, in the Habesha camp, fear has spread, and uneasiness has increased likewise.

Soothing, warnings, rebuking, and many others had been tried. Unfortunately, they try to tell us that the source of their problem is the national struggle of the Oromo people. In reality, the aim and goal of the struggle of the Oromo people is to get rid of authoritarian rulers, and thus, to achieve the right to self-determination for the Oromo people – based on international regulations and laws. The importance of the struggle is not only for the Oromo people, but for all peoples of the empire who are suffering under the colonial rule. So, the Oromo people trust in the united struggle of the oppressed peoples. The Oromo national movement will wedge, and has been wedging, joint struggles with forces of similar aims. In other ways, the Oromo people demonstrate peace in their cultural and administrative structures, and support fair unity. Fair unity helps the weak and stands for the oppressed. A good demonstration is the exemplary unity of the different ethnic groups living in today’s Oromiyaa – despite the numerous attempts by anti-Oromo groups to create rifts between the Oromo people and the other ethnic groups.

As the Oromo people – in their social lives and national struggle – respect the rules of human rights, by any measure, they are not threats to neighboring and same-region peoples; the information, which has been disseminated by groups wanting to re-instate the old system and TPLF jointly and independently, has turned out to be fake and false time and again.

The truth has been illustrated at various times by different individuals. But as long as those Oromo-phobic individuals who could not understand it give in, we must show and teach them theoretically and by action how the Oromo struggle has matured. Accordingly, the Oromo struggle has come a long way and has reached a stage where it cannot be averted; even though they are not going to like it, I would like to demonstrate through credible facts:

• By the sacrifices paid by its dear children, the Oromo Nation has been able to show to the whole world its country’s boundaries and its true history. By blood and bones of her children, our country Oromiyaa will be respected till eternity. This is the reality.

• The language and culture of Oromo people has been developing on solid foundation. Today Afan oromo has its own alphabets. Millions study, teach and do research by it. Medias with International audience broadcast by it. It has become language of literature. As this indicates that the struggle is nearing the end, we must take note.

• The Oromo people’s struggle has arrived at the generation which does not fear death, and which is ready to sacrifice for its dignity and for the sovereignty of Oromiyaa. This confirms all. As this reality has already been seen on the ground, there is no need for further explanations.

• The international community has not only understood, but forced to look for solutions about the arbitrary killings of the Oromo people. This is the fruit of the relentless struggle. Even if you don’t like it, you know the exact gist.

• Today, we have arrived at a historical chapter where the Oromo people have demonstrated that they will not crack by propaganda of anti-Oromo elements, and that they have stood together in unison for a common goal. This cooperation among all segments of the Oromo people has started to shake your power base – giving you high blood pressure as demonstrated by the recent uprising.

• As the Oromo national struggle consists of all options, Oromiyaan mountains, valleys and forests are witnessing strong military preparations. Accordingly, in May 2014 the Oromo Liberation Army has attacked enemy soldiers, and more than 200 soldiers have been put out of action. It has also confiscated a number of military equipment.

Overall, the Oromo people have scored important victories, and are mobilizing their human and material resources to claim the rest of their rights. So, are you trying to stop this visionary generation by imprisonment? Or trying to fool them through rebuke and fake words? To tell you the truth, that era has passed. Let me help you realize the truth. You can’t stop them. This is because you can’t stop a generation with a cause. The better way is to drop the old eyeglasses, which has twisted the truth, and straighten your views and live together. May God help you.

* Firehiwot Guluma Tezera: keetimdhufeera@yahoo.com

The Conflict between the Ethiopian State and the Oromo People, by Dr. Alemayehu Kumsa August 14, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Aannolee and Calanqo, Afar, Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Ethnic Cleansing, Finfinne is Oromia's land, Finfinnee is the Capital City of Oromia, Free development vs authoritarian model, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Musicians and the Performance of Oromo Nationalism, Ogaden, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Self determination, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia.
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 “What is important to consider is the significance of the fact that the people who control TPLF (Tigrai People’s Liberation Front) and Government are very parochial minded and appalling arrogant charlatans. They are extremely violent, insanely suspicious … With twin character flaws of excessive love of consumer goods and obsession with status and hierarchy… Fear, blackmail, intrigue, deception, suspicion, and brutality are its defining characteristics. It is absolutely insane for anyone to expect democracy from a secretive and tyrannical organization as such the TPLF and its spawn” (Hagos 1999:66)71. This study proves the observation of Prof. Gellner (1983) “the Amhara Empire was a prison house of nations if ever was one”72. The contemporary government of Ethiopia controlled by Tigrians is worse than all previous governments economically, politically, militarily and in human rights violation of Oromo and other nations which means, it is one of the worst prison houses of nations in Africa.

 

The Conflict between the Ethiopian State and the Oromo People

Published: Centro de Estudos Internacionais do Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL) (5th European Conference on African Studies/ECAS – June 27-29, 2013)
Keywords: Colonialism, Abyssinia, Oromo, Ethiopia, Liberation Movement

Abstract:
Colonialism is a practice of domination, which involves the subjugation of one people to another. The etymology of the term from Latin word colonus, meaning farmer. This root reminds us that the practice of colonialism usually involves the transfer of population to new territory, where the arrivals lived as permanent settlers while maintaining political allegiance to the country of origin. Colonialism is a characteristic of all known civilizations. Books on African history teaches us that Ethiopia and Liberia are the only countries, which were not colonized by West European states, but the paper argues that Ethiopia was created by Abyssinian state colonizing its neighbouring nations during the scramble for Africa. Using comparative colonial history of Africa, the paper tries to show that Abyssinian colonialism is the worst of conquest and colonial rule of all territories in Africa, according to the number of people killed during the conquest war, brutal colonial rule, political oppression, poverty, lack of education, diseases, and contemporary land grabbing only in the colonial territories. In its arguments, the paper discusses why the Oromo were defeated at the end of 19th century whereas we do have full historical documents starting from 13th century in which the Oromo defended their own territory against Abyssinian expansion. Finally the paper will elucidate the development of Oromo national struggle for regaining their lost independence.

Article in PDF format   ……   Alternatively, On Gadaa.com

Ethiopia is rated Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2014: Descent into hell continues in the Horn of Africa August 14, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Colonizing Structure, Ethiopia & World Press Index 2014, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Jen & Josh (Ijoollee Amboo), Tyranny.
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Ocouverture classement 2014logo RSF 
DESCENT INTO HELL CONTINUES IN THE HORN OF AFRICA

The levels of poverty and authoritarianism are higher in the Horn of Africa than anywhere else in the continent. Civil liberties are collateral victims. http://rsf.org/index2014/en-africa.php

World Press Index 2014: Ethiopia ranked 143/ 180

According to related index by freedom House, Ethiopia ranked 176/197

Ethiopia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom of the Press 2014, and Freedom on the Net 2013.
http://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press-2014/press-freedom-rankings#.U-xp-tJDvyt

http://www.freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/FOTP_2014.pdf

 

 

The 2014 World Press Freedom Index spotlights the negative impact of conflicts on freedom of information and its protagonists. The ranking of some countries has also been affected by a tendency to interpret national security needs in an overly broad and abusive manner to the detriment of the right to inform and be informed. This trend constitutes a growing threat worldwide and is even endangering freedom of information in countries regarded as democracies. Finland tops the index for the fourth year running, closely followed by Netherlands and Norway, like last year.

The 2014 index underscores the negative correlation between freedom of information and conflicts, both open conflicts and undeclared ones. In an unstable environment, the media become strategic goals and targets for groups or individuals whose attempts to control news and information violate the guarantees enshrined in international law, in particular, article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Protocols Additional 1 and 2 to the Geneva Conventions. Tyrannic  countries such as Ethiopia, Turkmenistan and North Korea where freedom of information is non-existent continue to be news and information black holes and living hells for the journalists who inhabit them.

 

Post-Zenawi Ethiopia – a missed chance to liberalize

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s death in August 2012 and his replacement by Hailemariam Desalegn raised hopes of political and social reforms that would benefit freedom of information. Sadly, these hopes have been dashed. The repressive anti-terrorism law adopted in 2009 is a threat that continues to hang over journalists, forcing them to censor themselves. Media that dare to violate the code of silence, especially as regards government corruption, are systematically intimidated.

Five journalists are currently detained in Kality prison on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. Two of them, Woubeshet Taye, the deputy editor of the Amharic-language weekly Awramba Times, and Reyot Alemu, a columnist with the national weekly Fitih, have been held for two and a half years, since their arrest in June 2011 on terrorism charges. There is no sign of any loosening of the vice that grips the Ethiopian media and the regime is unlikely to tolerate criticism before the elections in 2015.

Djibouti – unable to hear the voice of those without a voice

Djibouti is a highly strategic regional crossroads. Because of its economic and geopolitical advantages, it is easy to turn a blind eye to the dictatorial methods used by Ismail Omar Guelleh, who has ruled since 1999. Under Guelleh, Djibouti has steadily cut itself off from the outside world and suppressed criticism. The list of journalists who have been jailed and tortured gets longer and longer. Releases are only ever provisional. The journalist and Guelleh opponent Daher Ahmed Farah is a case in point. He has been jailed five times and arrested a dozen times since returning to Djibouti in January 2013.

The concept of independent media is completely alien to Djibouti. The only national broadcaster, Radio-Télévision Djibouti, is the government’s mouthpiece. The few opposition newspapers have disappeared over the years. There is an independent radio station based in Europe – La Voix de Djibouti. Two of its journalists have been jailed in the past 12 months.

Eritrea – Africa’s biggest prison for journalists

Ever since President Issayas Afeworki closed down all the privately-owned media and jailed 11 journalists in 2001, of which seven are reported to have died while in detention, Eritrea has been Africa’s biggest prison for the media. A total of 28 journalists are currently detained.

There are no longer any privately-owned media, and the state media are subject to such close surveillance that they have to conceal entire swathes of contemporary history such as the Arab Spring. Accessing reliable information is impossible in the absence of satellite and Internet connections. A few independent radio stations, such as Radio Erena, manage to broadcast from abroad.

Somalia – danger and authoritarianism

Those who had seen some improvement in Somalia were quickly disabused. Journalists still trying to provide objective news coverage are targeted by both terrorists and security-driven government officials. In 2013, seven journalists were the victims of terrorist attacks blamed with varying degrees of certainty on the Islamist militia Al-Shabaab. In November, Al-Shabaab deprived an entire region of television by seizing satellite dishes on the grounds they carried images that did not respect Islam. Information is seen as threat.

Unfortunately, the Somali government does not help. On the interior minister’s orders, police evicted Radio Shabelle, winner of the 2010 Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Prize, from its building and seized its equipment in October 2013 after a series of reports criticizing the upsurge in violence in Mogadishu. It was a double blow because the station also used the building to house its journalists, for whom moving about the city is very dangerous. When the equipment was returned a few weeks later, it was so badly damaged as to be unusable. Not that the station is authorized to broadcast anyway, because the communication ministry refuses to give it a permit.

 

Read more @ http://rsf.org/index2014/en-index2014.php#

 

http://rsf.org/index2014/en-africa.php

Africa:Why are we so poor? Yet we are so rich? August 12, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt, Africa Rising, African Poor, Aid to Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Free development vs authoritarian model, US-Africa Summit, Youth Unemployment.
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Africa’s poverty persists in the midst of a wealth of natural resources, estimated by the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa as including 12 percent of the world’s oil reserves, 42 percent of its gold, 80 to 90 percent of chromium and platinum group metals, and 60 percent of arable land in addition to vast timber resources.

 If these were idle, unexploited resources, it would be one thing.

However, the reality is that they are increasingly being exploited: investment and trade in Africa’s resources sector is on the rise, largely accounting for the sustained GDP growth rates witnessed over the last decade. The Economist magazine has reported increased foreign direct investment into Africa, rising from U.S. $15 billion in 2002, to $37 billion in 2006 to $46 billion in 2012.

While trade with China alone went up from $11 billion in 2003, to $166 billion in 2012, very little can be pointed to in commensurate changes in human development and fundamental economic transformation. It is multi-national corporations and a few local elites which are benefiting disproportionately from the reported growth – exacerbating inequality and further reinforcing the characteristic “enclave economy” structural defect of most African economies.

The disparity between sustained GDP growth rates and Africa’s seemingly obstinate and perverse state of underdevelopment, extreme poverty and deepening inequality brings to the fore issues of inclusivity and responsible governance of domestic resources. The question that is being asked by many – especially Africa’s young people who have assumed the agenda for economic transformation as a generational mandate – is this: Why are we so poor? Yet we are so rich?

Read more @http://allafrica.com/stories/201408120664.html

 

Waaqeffannaa (Amantii Oromoo):The traditional faith system of the Oromo people August 10, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ancient Egyptian, Ateetee (Siiqqee Institution), Black History, Chiekh Anta Diop, Culture, Development & Change, Finfinnee, Gadaa System, Irreecha, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Language and Development, Macha & Tulama Association, Meroe, Meroetic Oromo, Nubia, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo First, Oromo Identity, Oromo Social System, Oromummaa, Prof. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis, Safuu: the Oromo moral value and doctrine, State of Oromia, The Oldest Living Person Known to Mankind, The Oromo Democratic system, The Oromo Library, Wisdom.
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Waaqeffannaa (Amantii Oromoo), the traditional faith system of the Oromo people, is one version of the monotheistic African Traditional Religion (ATR), where the followers of this faith system do believe in only one Supreme Being. African traditional religion is a term referring to a variety of religious practices of the only ONE African religion, which Oromo believers call Waaqeffannaa (believe in Waaqa, the supreme Being), an indigenous faith system to the continent of Africa. Even though there are different ways of practicing this religion with varieties of rituals, in truth, the different versions of the African religion have got the following commonalities:

 

– Believe in and celebrate a Supreme Being, or a Creator, which is referred to by a myriad of names in various languages as Waaqeffataa Oromo do often say: Waaqa maqaa dhibbaa = God with hundreds of names and Waaqa Afaan dhibbaa = God with hundreds of languages; thus in Afaan Oromoo (in Oromo language) the name of God is Waaqa/Rabbii or Waaqa tokkicha (one god) or Waaqa guraachaa (black God, where black is the symbol for holiness and for the unknown) = the holy God = the black universe (the unknown), whom we should celebrate and love with all our concentration and energy

 

– No written scripture (ATR’s holy texts are mostly oral), but now some people are trying to compose the written scripture based on the Africans’ oral literature.

 

– Living according to the will of the Supreme Being and love also those who do have their own way of surviving by following other belief systems, which are different from that of the Waaqeffannaa. It includes keeping both safuu (virtues) and laguu (vices); i.e. to love safuu as well as to hate and abhor cubbuu (sin).

 

– Correspondence with the Supreme Being in times of a great need (i.e. in times of natural calamities, unexplained deaths) and try to walk always on the karaa nagaa (on the way of peace = on the way of righteousness, on the road of truth).

 

– Having a devout connection with ancestors; in case of Oromo, the ancestors are all ways blessed and celebrated for the good inheritance we got from them, but not worshiped as some people want to mis understand.

 

The word “culture” is most commonly defined as the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group; different cultures are the distinct ways that classified people living in different parts of the world, that represented their experiences and acted creatively. African peoples have got our own culture, which distinguish us from other parts of the world, of course also having our own sub-cultures among ourselves. Aadaa Oromoo (Oromo culture) being one part of the Cush culture is one of the sub-cultures within the common African culture, which consists also the faith system of Waaqeffannaa as part and parcel of the Oromo/African culture.

 

Waaqeffannaa’s interaction with other religions

According to the expert opinions written up to now, the concept of monotheism is the whole mark of African Traditional Religion including the faith system of the Cush nations. It seems that this concept of monotheism have moved from Cushitic black Africans (including the Oromo) first to ancient Egypt, secondly, further to Israel of the Bible and lastly to the Arab world of Koran. The experts tell us that Moses was not the first monotheist, but Akhenaten was the first revolutionary monotheist; they even claim that Moses might have been black. It is also argued that Moses was an Egyptian Pharaoh known as Akhenaten before the exodus. Additionally, they do argue that Akhenaten’s monotheism revolution in Egypt was not inspired from inside, but induced from outside by the Cushites, i.e. Akhenaten might have derived his monotheism concept from Africa’s/Oromo’s concept of Waaqa tokkicha in a form of “Waaq humna malee bifa hin qabu (God has no physical form, but power).” This concept may have been misinterpreted so that the other religions later started to talk about God with a physical form.

 

It is also interesting to observe many similarities between some old Egyptian words and Afaan Oromo words; for instance, the similarities of the ancient Egyptian words “Anii and Matii” with the Oromo words of “Ana (Ani) and Maatii.” Anii of Egyptians, which means I (I am who I am), that is equivalent to God is similar to the Oromo word Ani, which also means I and refers to the first person singular (the actor = the main character of GOD). Matii being the designation of God’s congregation and the Oromo word Maatii for the family which is the “congregation” of ani (first person = God) are surprisingly the same. This is only one of many similarities between Oromo and Egypt registered by experts till now. It is not my intention to talk about this historical relationship here, but just to show the relation between Oromo’s traditional religion and the three Abraham religions, even though Judaism is not part of the current religions practiced by the Oromo. It means the new acceptance of both Christianity and Islam by Africans is the coming back of the same belief in Waaqa tokkicha to Africa in different forms.

 

This historical relation between Amantii Oromoo and the two big religions of the world suggests that Waaqeffannaa is the older version of monotheism and humanism. Waaqeffannaa as a faith system and Irreechaa as a major national celebration were part and parcel of Oromo public life. Now, some Oromo nationals prefer the name Amantii Oromo/Amantii Africa to Waaqeffannaa. It is important if we all can agree to call the Oromo traditional religion as Amantii Oromo/Amantii Africa, just like we agreed on calling our language Afaan Oromo and our country Biyya Oromo. So in short, we can say: Our land is Biyya Oromo, our language is Afaan Oromo and our religion is Amantii Oromo. It is known that some people may argue by saying “how can we call it Amantii Oromo, when we do see that more than half of the Oromo nowadays have Christianity and Islam as their religion?” Are Oromo with other first language rather than Afaan Oromo not Oromo, despite their lost Afaan Oromo? Should we say just because of these Oromo, who nowadays speak only English, German, Amharic, etc., that Oromo language is not Afaan Oromo? The same way, it is not logical not to call Oromo religion as Amantii Oromo because of the Oromo who overtook other religions. Actually, the designation Waaqqeffannaa (believing in and living with Waaqa) can also be applied to Christian Oromo and Islam Oromo even though most of the Islam Oromo prefer the name Rabbii to the name Waaqa. They all are believers in Waaqa = God = Allah = Rabbii. Amantii Oromo differs only because of its specificity for it is the older Oromo faith embedded in only Oromo/African culture without any influence from alien culture.

 

The fact to be accepted here is that God is universal even though we call HIM Waaqa, Rabbii or Allah. But, Amantii Oromo is the way how our forefathers believed in this universal Waaqa of humankind. We don’t have God or Waaqa, who is specific only to Oromo/Africa and doesn’t care for other nations. Waaqa is the God of nations. But, we Oromo do have a specific way and culture regarding how we do practice our belief in Waaqa. This way of practicing our faith is what we call Amantii Oromo. Amantii Oromo is simply the Oromo way of practicing the faith in the universal Waaqa. It is part of the Oromo way of dealing with the problems of life (it is part of Aadaa Oromo). Accordingly, aadaa (culture) can also be defined as the way, in which a certain collective or group of people deals with its own life problem.

 

The difference between this Amantii Oromo and the other two big religions practiced by Oromo is that the other two got not only the faith in one God, but also the elements of cultures from the people in which they first emerged. We can see here the Arabs accepted the concept of Waaqa tokkicha while still keeping pre-Mohammad Arab culture in Islam, which is far different from Oromo/from African culture, but Islam practiced by Oromo in Oromia is colored by Arab culture for it is adopted from there. Interestingly, this is the difference between Islam Arab and Islam Oromo; Islam Arabs adopted only the concept of Waaqa tokkicha from Cush of Africa/Egypt/Israel, but don’t seem to exercise alien culture from these areas, whereas Islam Oromo tend to adopt both the faith and the culture from Arabs. Egyptians and Israelis, who accepted the concept of the same Waaqa tokkicha, also do practice their faith being colored by their own previous culture; they don’t seem to practice Cush culture; but again Christianity practiced in Oromia is mostly colored by the culture of the Israelis, the Habeshas as well as by that of the Western world for Christian Oromo tend to adopt not only the faith, but also the alien culture.

 

That is why it is not actually bad that some Oromo nationals accept and believe in the two monotheist religions (Christianity and Islam) per se, but not good is giving more value to the culture of the nations from which the religions come to us, at the cost of the very valuable Aadaa Oromo. Of course, good elements of foreign cultures can be accommodated without damaging the good elements of our own. For instance, the similarity between dibbee Qaallu (Qaallu’s drum) and the beat of Tigrinya music shows how Tegarus have inherited and kept some elements of Oromo’s culture. This can verify that the suggestion of Donald Levine, who in his book called Greater Ethiopia wrote that “Tegarus are part of the Cushites of the Old Testament who denied their identity”, may be true. After all, why do they call their mother Aadde? Where does the name Barentu in Eritrea come from? Are they only inheritance of names or were they part of the lost Oromo/Cush? Anyways, it is good to follow the advice given once by Luba Shamsadin. He said (paraphrased here), when we try to accept religions from other nations, we have to identify and separate “the bone of the fish from the meat”; i.e. we need to identify and leave the unnecessary cultural elements of other nations, which are usually mixed with their religions we Oromo do tend to accept and adopt.

 

So as it is put here in short,

Waaqeffannaa (believe in one Waaqa of the universe) is practiced not only among the Cush nations, but also among almost all African nations. This faith system of Africans including Waaqeffannaa has been devalued as something “paganism, barbarism, religionlessness, uncivilization, Godlessness, animism, primitivism, etc”. The black color, which is the symbol of holiness in Waaqeffannaa was/is demonized as a symbol for Satan. All the blessing ceremonies of Waaqeffannaa and the utensil used for the blessings are condemned as a service, an instrument and worshiping of demons/Satan. Despite this denigration, the current revival of Waaqeffannaa and the celebration of Irreechaa in Oromia can be a good example-setting for the other African nations to revive their hitherto devalued and almost lost culture and religion.

 

To serve this purpose of revival, the right way of Waaqeffannaa (believing in, celebrating of and living with Waaqa) must be cleaned from alien non-constructive elements as well as from non-productive practices and rituals like that of “qaalichaa” (infiltrating idolatry), which are not serving the purpose of Waaqa in our personal or national life. That means, we have to differentiate Waaqeffachuu (realizing God’s purpose in our life) from waaqessuu (serving alien gods). Waaqeffachuu is applying Waaqa’s goodwill in our practical life, whereas waaqessuu is making someone or something be our Waaqa, i.e. practicing idolatry. The Oromo people in general have never had an idol to worship, but always had only one Waaqa to believe in and to celebrate. Of course, there are very few Oromo individuals nowadays tending to practice waaqessuu. Such purification of the African faith system from unimportant and useless elements must be done in all versions of the practices and rituals among all African nations.

 

Concept of God in Waaqeffannaa

To make Waaqeffannaa a little bit clear, here is a short narration about this faith system in practice. Oromo nationals practicing this faith do talk about Waaqa tokkicha, which is one of the evidences for the faith to be monotheism, just as the Christianity and Islam are. The concept of God among these believers is summarized by their usual saying: “Waaq humna malee bifa hin qabu.” These believers do not misinterpret Waaqa tokkicha as an expression of physical form for even the whole nature as a physical form is also an expression of his power. The believers and the Qaalluu or Qaallitti (local spiritual leader) are usually very lovely; specially the leaders are simply like a love in person. All their followers are selfless people full of good deeds and love; they do talk about Waaqa, calling him as abbaa koo (my father), and they usually do pray for children saying: “akka ijoollee keenyaa eebbisuuf abba keenya gaafanna (let’s ask our father to bless our children),” they usually don’t say “abba keenya kadhanna (let’s beg our father).”

 

Whenever they are challenged by life problems, they do assert by saying: “Waaq abbaan keenya eessa dhaqeetu (our God is not far away)”, denoting that Waaqa is always ready to help his children. They some times also talk as prophets in a way: “Abbaan keenya akkas jedha, ani sin wajjin jira, ani nan sin gargaara (our father says, I am with you and I will help you)”. According to them, the spiritual father is Waaqa garaa gurraachaa, i.e. Waaqa with holy heart, symbolized with black color, most of whose holiness is unknown to humans. Knowledgeable believers do tell that the concept “Waaqa gurracha garaa garba (black God with heart like ocean)” actually refers to the unknown future. What Waaqa may bring in the future is unknown, and that is signified by black color. Here, garaa garba is also about the unknown. One couldn’t know what is inside the body of water from afar. This point of view seems to be the reason for the color black in the Oromo tricolor to signify the unknown future.

 

In some regions of Oromia, there are a lot of congregations visited by Oromo at some big houses called gimbi (galma) which have got different names: gimbii diloo, maram, abbaa jama, hiike, etc; the spiritual practices done there include the following: dalaguu (dancing), irreenssa kennu (green leaf as a gift), wareeguu (offerings), hammachiisaa (blessing babies), gashaa (delicious food brought to gimbi), etc. Actually, people go to such gimbi regularly carrying green leaves of Irreensaa. In this culture, green grass or green leaf is a powerful symbol for life and prosperity, and it is an element present in all public rituals of Waaqeffataa Oromo, including funerals and prayers of remembrance, during which grass is spread on the ground or grave. The above listed different names of gimbi are Oromo spiritual holy places and palaces, which are equivalent to temple, church and mosque. In all the places mentioned, everyone prays to Waaqa. The practices mentioned above are just variations of spiritual practice to Waaqa.

 

It is also to be observed among the practicing Waaqeffattaa how balanced is their way of discussion and relationship. During sorts of discussions, they often discuss very wisely. For example, when they give comments, here is a sample of how they do: “Ilaa, kanaa fi sana waan gaarii jette. Haa ta’u malee, kunimmoo otoo akkana ta’e wayya (here and there you said good, but it is better if this one be so and so)”. They do not denigrate the opinion of the other side, but tell the better alternative to the opinion they do disagree with. They do tolerate the mistake of others and just tell the consequence of the mistake. As far as they are concerned, there is always cubbuu (sin) in their consciousness, but no concept for hell or condemnation after death. This simply implies that we all do experience the consequence of our trespasses regarding the safuu (virtues) and laguu (vices) expected from us during our life time.

 

Not to suffer such consequences of cubbuu, Waaqeffattaa Oromo have got a lot of very well said prayers in their practical life activities. The following are very few of the impressive prayers in the day to day life of the Oromo, which need to be presented here as examples. They are usually heard from the believers of Amantii Oromo, and they are almost similar to what the believers in Christianity and Islam do pray, let alone the similarity of the greatly formulated prayers we do hear during Irreechaa celebration with what the Christian Qesis and the Islam Sheiks usually do pray:

 

– Yaa Waaq kan dubbatee nu dubbachiisu fi kan hamaa nutti yaadu nurraa qabbi (God keep us from those who speak evil and make us speak the same).

 

– Yaa Waaq mirga nu oolch (help us to walk on the right way); hamaa nurraa qabi (protect us from evil).

 

– Yaa Rabbii, ilmi ga’e haa fuudhu (Oh God, let the young man be married), dubarri geesse haa heerumtu (let the young woman be married), this prayer shows howimportant family building for human blessing is.

 

– Yaa Waaq, ani galee, kan galee hin rafne narraa qabi; ani rafee kan rafee hin bulle narra qabi (I am now at home to sleep, save me from the evil ones who didn’t yet be at their home and didn’t sleep).

 

– Yaa Waaq galgala koo hin balleessiin (let my old age not be cursed), this is related with the conse -quence of cubbuu. The believers are asking Waaqa to help them stay away from cubbuu so that their “galgala (late age)” will not be bad/painful. Here we see something similar with the native American’s culture. They say: “when you came to this world, you cried and everybody else laughed; live your life so that when you leave this world, you laugh and everyone else cries”; i.e. to say live your life free from cubbuu and its conse -quence (suffering), the life style which leads you to the blessing in your old age.

 

This prayers indicate the fact on the ground how Oromo look at Waaqa and at the human-being. Waaqa is conceived as a holy father with whom we can correspond during our day to day life problems or when ever we face calamities or difficulties for his will is always good, whereas human-beings can be with either bad or good intention in relation to each other. Both Gadaa and Qaalluu institutions look at all individuals as human with equal rights in front of Waaqa; that is why there is no a “respect form” of addressing human-being or God in Afaan Oromo, just as there is non in English language. After losing our sovereignty, the Oromo people had to learn how to “respect” authority figures. For there is no such option in Afaan Oromo, we had to use plural verbs to address the authority figures. Even Abbaa Gadaa (chief of the government) and Abbaa Mudaa (the spiritual leader) were addressed as “ati = you in a singular form,” not as “isin = you in a plural form.” Today, we have to address our fellow human being with certain authority as “isin” to show “respect.” It is not bad if such addressing would have been mutual/symmetrical as for instance it is in German language. But such “respect,” which we are now applying is asymmetrical (only the authority figure is addressed with the “respect” form, whereas the authority figure can address the other person without using the “respect” form. Where it is the reality that we don’t use the “respect” form during addressing our Waaqa, as seen in the above prayers, why should we bother to use it in addressing our fellow human being? It would be better if we leave this culture, which we adopted from others with authoritarian culture in contrast to our own egalitarian one. Our concept of Waaqa doesn’t allow us to behave so submissively to any human being, who is equal to us.

 

Virtues and Vices of Waaqeffannaa

Here in short, safuu (virtue) can be defined as the “to do list” in order to serve Waaqa and to achieve his kaayyoo/goal in our personal and national earthly life; whereas laguu (vice) is the “not to do list” or the taboo, so that we can refrain from doing such activities diverting us from the kaayyoo Waaqa for our life. Cubbuu (sin) then in short includes both not doing the safuu and doing the laguu. Just as an example, if we take bilisummaa (national freedom) as Waaqa’s kaayyoo for the Oromo nation, what are the safuu and the laguu to be respected? If the kaayyoo of Waaqeffannaa is individual healing from any sort of illness, what are the safuu and the laguu, which both the healer and the sick person should respect?

 

In order to look at the virtues and vices of the traditional Oromo/African belief system for our earthly life, let us now try to describe Waaqeffannaa as we experienced it and knew it. Note that all the descriptions and notions we try to put here on paper are based on our own argaa-dhageetti (based on our own perception), which may differ from that of the other Oromo nationals. For instance, we could observe that Oromo is a nation filled with celebrations of eebba (blessing), who do have different celebrations for almost everything and everybody related to our life. For instance, taaboree as a blessing ceremony for young boys; ingiccaa for blessing young girls; ayyaana abbaa for blessing the ancestors for the good inheritance we got from them; ateetee for blessing our women; borantichaa for blessing adult men; jaarii looni for blessing our useful animals; jaarii qe’e or jaarii kosii for blessing our residence area; jaarii midhaani to bless our farms; garanfasa mucucoo as a celebration of the rainy season and, of course, gubaa and irreechaa for celebration of the coming birraa (the coming spring season) etc. We hope that Oromo students of anthropology, sociology and theology will make a scientific research on these blessing ceremonies and tell us the constructive and non-constructive elements of the activities in them.

 

But, let us mention few of the virtues (positive aspects) of Waaqeffannaa in our earthly life time. Here the reference point to judge certain elements as negative or positive is the position of the purpose, which Waaqa do have for our personal and national life, i.e. based on the kaayyoo (goal) our Waaqayyoo do have for us. To elaborate this relationship between kaayyoo and Waaqayyoo, we can ask: is Waaq-aayyoo our ka-ayyoo / is our ka-ayyoo the Waaq-ayyoo? It is about knowing what purpose we do serve in our daily life both cognitively and behaviorally, as individuals or as a nation. Be it that we do think and walk at political, religious or private level, we do try to serve certain purpose in life. In order to identify that purpose, we only need to be conscious about it, reflect on it and ask our selves: whom do we privately or collectively serve in our endeavors? Do we serve Waaqa’s purpose for us or that of the others’? Simply put, which purpose should we serve? Fortunately the hitherto cumulative knowledge and wisdom of different societies in general and that of the Oromo society in particular tell us what we ought to serve: i.e. to serve Waaqa’s purpose which is good for us as an individual and as a collective. This good purpose is given a sacred name and it seems to be what people call the will of Waaqa.

 

As a support for this assertion, we can look at an example written in the Bible of Christians, that states : “God is my objective”. Is this to be understood also as: “my objective is God”? Can we say that our good personal or political purpose is the will of Waaqa, whom we ought to serve? To comprehend this, it is no where clearly written other than in Afaan Oromo. Surprisingly the words kaayyoo and Waaqayyoo in our language do indicate to have the same source. As we know, the short word KA is the name given by our Cushitic ancestors to God and the word aayyoo is, of course, the name given to a mother, who does wish all good things for her children and does plan and try to fulfill it. So KA can be defined as the Supreme Being, which has good purpose for ayyoo’s children. This purpose is the “Goodness” for her children. So KA-ayyoo is God’s will (his good objective to her beloved children). The term Waaqayyo is the short form of waan-KA-ayyoo (what is planned from KA for aayyoo and for her children). So we can see that the good end, we have to serve, can be called kaayyoo from Waaqa. So the will of Waaqa is simply to be defined as the good end we should choose to serve as part of the balanced universe created by HIM.

 

To fulfill this service to the good end, fortunately the best thing we do observe among Waaqeffataa Oromo is the work-ethics they do have to achieve the purpose of Waaqa in their earthly life, specially in the life areas of career and family. They do love to be the best in both life areas; they love their family and most of them are very enthusiastic to be successful in their profession. They usually say “Waaq taa’i taa’i namaan hin jedhin (let HE not make us idle);” simply put, diligence is part of safuu and to be idle and lazy is part of laguu. We know that there are certain contamination from other cultures to be practiced as rituals contradicting this virtue and which are not serving the purpose of Waaqa for us. That is why we do recommend not only the revival of this marvelous belief system, which was the creation of our forefathers, but also we do suggest a necessary reformation to make the faith system to be fit, so that it can help us to cope with the 21st century challenge and situation. Waaqa’s creation and his keeping the balance of the universe is still going on, so that HE demands also a dynamic creative work from his creature, from the human being. Another impressive virtue of Waaqeffannaa necessary to be mentioned is its relation with nature and its persuasion to help us keep the environment healthy; it is the faith system which is simply through and through green.

 

Waaqeffannaa’s position on the life after death

According to this belief system, we all will live further after death as ekeraa (in a form of soul/spirit) with our father, with Waaqa, without any possibility of punishment in hell. We recently read Martial De Salviac’s translated book, in which he wrote “Oromo invariably believe that they will go to heaven.” So, the consequence of our cubbuu is not losing eternal life, but suffering in our earthly life. To Waaqeffataa Oromo, Waaqa is the one who wants us not to do a collective cubbuu, but expects us to protect the balanced nature, in which HIS power is manifested. The wisdom that guides Waaqeffataa Oromo in fulfilling this mission seems to be our arga-dhagetti (believe and act on a principle of reality, i.e. based on what we see and hear).

 

According to argaa-dhageetti, the concepts like “cubbuun ni qabdi (sin has got consequence), cubbuun ni sirriqxi (the consequence of sin can be inherited), cubbu abbaatu eeggata or cubbuu irra abbaatu uf eega (everyone should keep him-/herself from committing sin and everybody is responsible for the consequences of the sin he/she commit)” are nice and practical. What we liked most from the principles of Waaqeffannaa is this concept of cubbuu. The consequences of cubbuu are only to be seen here on this earth, not in the coming life after death. There is no hell that Waaqayyoo has prepared to punish the people with cuubbu. This is hilarious and very healing for those who always have to live with the fear of hell or punishment after death.

 

Another interesting aspect of Waaqeffannaa is that we never heard from the practicing believers that they are believing in the presence of an evil spiritual power in the form of Satan, which acts and lives against the almighty power of Waaqa. Accordingly, there is only one sovereign power doing and undoing all things in a universe, that is Waaqa. Unfortunately, the concept Satan is now already spread among the whole Oromo population as a contamination taken from other religions. Waaqeffataa Oromo do believe that the evil things we do experience in life are due to the imbalance of nature as a result of the unwise or wicked deeds of humans as collective, i.e. it is a human cubbuu with its consequences on the earth. That is why they usually ask their Waaqa for wisdom to keep the balance of nature and that HE lead them to only those with good intention and protect them from those with bad intention, for example, in a prayer like: “yaa Waaq tolaa nutti qabi, hamaa irraa nu eegi (God lead who is good to us and keep away who is evil from us). Here it seems that good is someone, who works to keep the balance of nature; and evil is the contrary.

 

According to the faith system of Waaqeffannaa, there is nothing we have to do now to earn eternal life after death; life after death is simply a free gift we got from our father, Waaqayyoo, whom we just need to celebrate and thank as we do daily and during the yearly celebrations like Irreechaa. We also don’t need a savior, who has to suffer and die for us, so that we can get life after death. The only area where we have to work on is trying to live the quality life (the character of the eternal life) according to the will of Waaqa here on earth. To live this quality life, we need to activate our potentials given to us from Waaqa and then walk on the karaa nagaa towards the kaayyoo Waaqa for our life, being free from cubbuu by keeping both safuu and laguu.

 

Further recommendation

The very important aspect of Waaqeffannaa as part of Oromo/African culture is its principle of argaa-dhaggeetti (it is relatively an evidence based faith system, possibly trying to be free from superstition). This principle is about reading the real situations at hand and finding the appropriate solutions for the situations. Waaqeffannaa teaches that only Waaqa is not prone to change for HE is perfect, but all his creature and all the situations are changing with time; that is why his creative action is still going on and that we also need to be in a position to find new solutions for the changed situations. In short, we need to be situation oriented, time oriented and live accordingly. That means, it is good to know the past version of aadaa and Amantii Oromo/Africa; but better is to live and practice the present version of aadaa and Amantii Oromo; of course the best is to create the most beneficial version of aadaa and Amantii Oromo as well as to inherit it to our coming generation. So let’s learn from the past version, live the present version and love to create the future verion of aadaa Oromo in general, and Amantii Oromo in particular.

 

This article is of course coloured by subjective perceptions, so that Oromo nationals are welcome to complement or contradict it. All the sub-titles given in this article need a further meticulous research and study. Through scientific studies, it can be possible to cleanse Waaqeffa -nnaa from certain meaningless rituals adopted from the other sub-cultures, e.g rituals like that of “qaalichaa” (idolatry), xinqolaa (sorcery), etc, where the practitioners are actually making business in the name of the religion. Waaqeffannaa needs not only revival, but also reformation as part and parcel of the ongoing liberation from such sensless practices. Elements, which are against the will of Waaqa for all human-being in general and for African nations in particular must be removed, so that we can say Waaqa bless Oromia/Africa and then live accordingly. Adopting good elements, which serve the will of Waaqa for us, from other cultures and faiths is not bad as it is usually said: “waan gaariin bade hundi kan Oromo ti” (every good thing lost belongs to Oromo). Again, good and bad is defined from the position of the will of Waaqa for our life, i.e. from the position of his kaayyoo in our life, which is always a good purpose.

 

So, only celebrating the holidays and reviving the religion are not enough, if we want to be fit for the present 21st century situation and for the situation in which our future generation will live. Our forefathers created a faith system as part of the solution to their situation; we also need to do the same. So let’s not try to use the same key used by our forefathers in the past to open doors with totally different keyholes at the present and the future or we don’t need to ride a donkey at this age of driving a limousine; in short we need a right solution for the present and the future situations. Our next generation need to inherit from us the latest and modern model/edition/version of our faith system, Waaqeffannaa, which they also can reform, edit and secure for their children and grand children, so that we human-being continue to be as creative as our father, Waaqa.

 

Let’s give a simple suggestion as an example in the required reforming: why can’t we use bundle of flowers for Irreechaa, instead of only grass used by our forefathers? Why don’t we use water or oil, instead of butter to anoint others during the blessing ceremonies just for the sake of hygiene? Why don’t we use candle light or the modern beautifully colored electric light decorations instead of bonfire during wa-maraa (demera)? etc. Now it is a time to have Waaqeffannaa free from non-productive and untimely elements, so that it will be a faith system, which will be accepted and believed by the enlightened and informed Oromo in particular as well as by Africans in general (so that it will be a faith system serving the will of Waaqa for Oromia in particular, and for Africa in general).

 

Last but not least, Waaqeffataa Oromo need to be creative in realizing the will of Waaqa in our life, which is the only way to “evangelize” and convert others to the “karaa nagaa (to the right way) HE wants us to walk. We need to learn from the past (the known part of life, which is symbolized by white color), live the present (the challenging part of life symblized by red color) and love to know the future (the unknown part of life symbolized by black color). The karaa nagaa at this particular era/time includes the virtue of a passinate struggle in life both individually and collectively, not an attitude of the pacifistic stoicism. Waaqeffannaa doesn’t persuade us to do things to secure life after death, but it tells us that our effort and enthusiasm are part of the safuu we have to keep and implement in order to make our life here on earth the excellent success story.

Read the full article from original source @http://gihonpostsite.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/waaqeffannaa-the-african-traditional-faith-system/

 

 

Africa: Illicit Financial Flows Drain US$55.6bn Annually from the Continent August 10, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt, Africa Rising, African Poor, Aid to Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Dictatorship, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Free development vs authoritarian model.
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Illicit Financial Flows Drain US$55.6bn Annually from African Continent

Only Ethiopia has lost $11.7 billion to illicit fund outflows in the last decade.  

A climate of corruption, Ethiopian edition

corruption-in-africaWorking Group Must Address Trade Misinvoicing and Role of U.S. Business and Government in Facilitating Illicit Finance to Be Truly Effective, Warns GFI

Illicit Financial Flows Drain US$55.6bn Annually from African Continent, Sapping GDP, Undermining Development, and Fueling Crime, Corruption, and Tax Evasion

August 7, 2014, WASHINGTON, DC (GFI) – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) welcomed the announcement from the White House and African leaders today regarding the establishment of a bilateral U.S.-Africa Partnership to Combat Illicit Finance, but the Washington-DC based research and advocacy organization cautioned that any effective partnership must be sure to address deficiencies in both the U.S. and in Africa that facilitate the hemorrhage of illicit capital from Africa.

“We welcome the move by President Obama and certain African leaders to form this partnership on curbing illicit financial flows from African economies,” said GFI President Raymond Baker, who also serves on the UN High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa. “Illicit financial flows are by far the most damaging economic problem facing Africa. By announcing the creation of the U.S.-Africa Partnership to Combat Illicit Finance, President Obama and African leaders have taken the first step towards tackling the most pernicious global development challenge of our time.”

GFI research estimates that illicit financial outflows cost African (both North and Sub-Saharan African) economies US$55.6 billion per year from 2002-2011 (the most recent decade for which comprehensive data is available), fueling crime, corruption, and tax evasion. Indeed, GFI’s latest global analysis found that these illicit outflows sapped 5.7 percent of GDP from Sub-Saharan Africa over the last decade, more than any other region in the developing world. Perhaps most alarmingly, outflows from Sub-Saharan Africa were found to be growing at an average inflation-adjusted rate of more than 20 percent per year, underscoring the urgency with which policymakers should address illicit financial flows.

The problem with illicit outflows from Africa is so severe that a May 2013 joint report from GFI and the African Development Bank found that, after adjusting all recorded flows of money to and from the continent (e.g. debt, investment, exports, imports, foreign aid, remittances, etc.) for illicit financial outflows, between 1980 and 2009, Africa was a net creditor to the rest of the world by up to US$1.4 trillion.

Trade Misinvoicing at the Heart of Illicit Outflows

According to GFI’s research, most of the illicit outflows from Africa—US$35.4 billion of the US$55.6 billion leaving the continent each year—occur through the fraudulent over- and under-invoicing of trade transactions, a trade-based money laundering technique known as “trade misinvoicing.” As GFI noted in a May 2014 study, trade misinvoicing is undermining billions of dollars of investment and domestic resource mobilization in at least a number of African countries. The organization emphasized the importance of ensuring that the new U.S.-Africa partnership prioritizes the curtailment of trade misinvoicing.

“The misinvoicing of ordinary trade transactions is the most widely used method for transferring dirty money across international borders, and it accounts for the vast majority of illicit financial flows from Africa,” said Heather Lowe, GFI’s legal counsel and director of government affairs. “While it is easy to place the blame for this on corrupt officials or transnational crime networks, the truth of the matter is that the bulk of these fraudulent trade transactions are conducted by normal companies, many of them major U.S. and European companies.”

Ms. Lowe continued: “Just yesterday, President Obama announced the Doing Business in Africa Campaign, a U.S. government initiative focused on boosting trade between U.S. and African companies, without a signal mention of the elephant in the room: trade misinvoicing. Increasing trade is important to boosting economic growth across Africa, but only if the trade is done honestly and at fair market values. The single most important step that wealthy nations like the U.S. can take to help African economies curtail illicit flows is to trade legitimately and honestly with Africa. While this topic was not addressed at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum yesterday, it must be on the table as the U.S.-Africa Partnership to Combat Illicit Finance commences its work.”

U.S. Must Clean Up Its Own Backyard

GFI further emphasized the need to address the role of the U.S. financial system as a major facilitator of such outflows.
“For every country losing money illicitly, there is another country absorbing it. Illicit financial outflows are facilitated by financial opacity in tax havens and in major economies like the United States,” said GFI Policy Counsel Joshua Simmons. “Indeed, the United States is the second easiest country in the world—after Kenya—for a criminal, kleptocrat, or terrorist to incorporate an anonymous company to launder their ill-gotten-gains with impunity.

“While governance remains an issue for many African countries, structural deficiencies in the U.S. financial system are just as responsible for driving the outflow of illicit capital. This initiative cannot place the onus entirely on the shoulders of African governments. The burden for curtailing these illicit flows must be shared equally by policymakers in the U.S. and in Africa for this partnership to be effective,” added Mr. Simmons.

http://ayyaantuu.com/africa/illicit-financial-flows-drain-us55-6bn-annually-from-african-continent/

 

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/01/25/ethiopia-reflecting-on-corruption-in-ethiopia/

Is Poverty the fault, crime, of the poor? August 7, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, African Poor, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Development, Development & Change, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Poverty, UN's New Sustainable Development Goals, Youth Unemployment.
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Odaa OromooPoverty

 

 

 

The truth is that humanity must now confront, not just poverty, but a convergence of mega crises, all of which are deeply interconnected: Government corruption; ecological destabilization; structural debt; and hyper-consumerism established in the west and rapidly expanding worldwide.

Martin Kirk & Joe Brewer

 

 

 

 

Right now, a long and complicated process is underway to replace the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015, with new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These will set the parameters for international development for the next 15 years and every government, UN agency, large corporation and NGO, not to mention billions of citizens on the planet have a stake.

Judging by what’s being produced, though, we have a serious problem. The best way to describe it is with an old joke: There’s a man driving through the countryside, trying to find a nearby town. He’s desperately lost and so when he sees a woman by the side of the road he pulls over and asks for directions. The woman scratches her head and says, “Well, I wouldn’t start from here.”

The best evidence of where the SDGs are starting from is the so-called “Zero Draft” document, first released on 3 June and currently undergoing exhaustive consultation.

First things to note are the big differences with the MDGs. Most strikingly, the SDGs suggest an end to poverty is possible in the next 15 years, whereas the MDGs aimed at halving it. The implication is that we’ve made amazing progress and are now on the home stretch. Secondly, the SDGs get serious about climate change. This is a major paradigm shift and, what’s more, they aim squarely at the heart of the problem: patterns of production and consumption. Impressive. Thirdly, reducing inequality “within and between” countries is included, with a goal of its own. This suggests another paradigm shift, and a controversial one because it opens the door, just a crack, to the idea that the extremely rich might be making an undue amount of their money off the backs of the extremely poor.

Of these three goals, it is fairly certain that two will disappear before the process concludes. There is no way the world’s rich governments and corporations will allow a meaningful challenge to production and consumption patterns, or a focus on reducing inequality. This is a given.

However, there is an even more important problem in the Zero Draft document which is that the very starting point of the issue is profoundly misconceived. How do we know? Because of the language. Language is a code that contains a lot more than its literal meaning, and an analysis of semantic frames in the Zero Draft exposes the logic upon which it is built.

Let’s take the opening paragraph:

“Poverty eradication is the greatest global challenge facing the world today and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. We are therefore committed to freeing humanity from poverty and hunger as a matter of urgency.”

Poverty can be conceptualised in many ways and in this passage it is presented as both a preventable disease (“to be eradicated”) and as a prison (“to free humanity from”). In both, the framing reveals the framers’ view, conscious or otherwise, on causation. Diseases are just part of the natural world, so if poverty is a disease, it suggest that it is something for which no-one is to blame. The logic of a prison meanwhile is that people are in it for committing a crime. The former denies the idea that human actions may be a cause of inequality and poverty; the latter invokes the idea that poverty is the fault – the crime – of the poor.

Also note the phrase: “the greatest global challenge.” This asserts a logic in which there is a hierarchy of individual issues based on relative importance, with poverty at the top. The truth, however, is that humanity must confront a convergence of mega-crises all of which are deeply interconnected. Government corruption, ecological destabilisation, structural debt, hyper-consumerism established in the West and rapidly expanding in the east and south, for example, are all closely linked. But framing poverty as “the greatest global challenge” conceals the web of interconnected systems and removes them from consideration. The result: No systemic solutions can arise from a logic that denies systemic problems.

There is a good reason for this: it protects the status quo. This logic validates the current system and ordering of power by excusing it of blame and says it can, indeed must, continue business as usual. This is the logic of the corporate capitalist system.

There’s no denying that some excellent progress has been made since 1990 – the year the MDGs measure from – but you don’t need to deny that to know there is something fundamentally wrong with a global economy in which, at a time when wealth grew by 66%, the ratio of average incomes of the richest 5% and the poorest 20% rose from 202:1 to 275:1. Or that the reality masked by the ratios is that one third of all deaths since 1990 (432 million) have been poverty-related. Using UN figures, that’s more than double the combined deaths from the Two World Wars, Mao’s Great Leap Forward, Stalin’s purges, and all military and civilian deaths from the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. What’s more, even though we are now seeing around 400,000 deaths every year from climate change, we are pumping 61% more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere annually than we were in 1990.

The point is that, in light of the logic the language exposes – and we have mentioned just two of many possible examples telling the same story – any glorification of the SDGs we hear over the next year must be seen as reinforcing the logic their language contains.

To really tackle poverty, inequality and climate change, we would need to change that logic to one that is built on an acceptance of how much these problems are the result of human actions. And that the fact of living in poverty makes no inherent comment whatsoever on the person or people concerned, other than that they live in poverty. This in turn would make a wholly different type and scale of change feel like common sense. For example, it would feel obvious to work towards taxing carbon emissions at source and putting in place sanctions against those responsible for hoardingat least $26 trillion in tax havens. We would instinctively reach to introduce laws that give local authorities everywhere the right to revoke corporate charters for serious social or environmental misdeeds anywhere. And the big one: money. Ridiculous though it may sound, right now we allow private banks to control the supply of US dollars, euros and other major currencies that surge through the global economy. These banks charge everyone, including governments, interest on every note, thereby guaranteeing that a constant river of money flows into their coffers, along with immense power. But unfortunately, none of these issues will make it into the SDGs because they contradict the current, dominant logic, and what’s more, because they might actually work and redistribute power and wealth more equitably.

We compound our problems when we allow ourselves to be drawn into processes like the SDG-design are turning out to be. Every ounce of credence given to their frames helps weigh down the center of debate far from where it needs to be. Until the UN can use its powers, resources and privileges to promote policies that grow from the logic of its highest ideals, we may help it, the planet and each other best by divesting our attention from it and finding avenues for change that can.

This article was originally published by Common Dreams.

Read more @ http://commondreams.org/views/2014/08/06/hidden-shallows-global-poverty-eradication-efforts

Oromo: “For a people facing complete erasure, survival itself is a revolutionary act”, IOYA’s Former President Ayantu Tibeso at the Macha-Tulama Association’s 50th Anniversary Celebration August 7, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Aannolee and Calanqo, Ateetee (Siiqqee Institution), Ayantu Tibeso, Colonizing Structure, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Finfinne is Oromia's land, Finfinnee is the Capital City of Oromia, Finfinnee n Kan Oromoo ti, Free development vs authoritarian model, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Jen & Josh (Ijoollee Amboo), Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure. African Heritage. The Genocide Against Oromo Nation, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Language and Development, Macha & Tulama Association, Musicians and the Performance of Oromo Nationalism, Nimoonaa Tilahun, Oromians Protests, Oromo Protests in Ambo, Self determination, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Mass Massacre & Imprisonment of ORA Orphans, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Tyranny, Undemocratic governance in Africa, Waldaa Maccaa fi Tulamaa.
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The fact that we are gathered here today to honor the founding of Macha Tulama 50 years ago speaks to the fact that despite all odds, we, as a people are survivors. Ethiopian history is full of attempts to annihilate the Oromo—culturally, politically, socially, economically, in all and every ways possible.Oromos — cast as foreign, aliens to their own lands, have been the targets of the entire infrastructure of the Ethiopian state since their violent incorporation. Our identity, primarily language, religion and belief systems and cultural heritage have been the main targets of wanton destruction.   Oromo and its personhood were already demonized, characterized as embodiments of all that is inferior, shameful and subhuman from the beginning. Oromo people were economically and politically exploited, dominated and alienated.

Ayantu Tibeso

HOW THE ECONOMIC MACHINE WORKS August 3, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, International Economics, International Trade.
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How the economic Machine works

Watch and read more @

http://www.economicprinciples.org/

http://bwater.com/Uploads/FileManager/research/how-the-economic-machine-works/ray_dalio__how_the_economic_machine_works__leveragings_and_deleveragings.pdf#page=2

 

 

Africa’s Slide Toward Disaster August 2, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Aid to Africa, Corruption, Dictatorship, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Free development vs authoritarian model, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Tyranny, UK Aid Should Respect Rights, US-Africa Summit, Youth Unemployment.
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Africa’s Slide Toward Disaster

AUG. 1, 2014

A specter is haunting Africa — the specter of impunity. Many countries the United States considers allies are in the grip of corrupt, repressive tyrants; others are mired in endless conflict. As Washington prepares to host the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit next week, American policy makers must acknowledge their contributions to this dismal situation. By lavishing billions of dollars in military and development aid on African states while failing to promote justice, democracy and the rule of law, American policies have fostered a culture of abuse and rebellion. This must change before the continent is so steeped in blood that there’s no way back.

The summit seeks to highlight Africa’s development successes and promote trade and investment on a continent rich in oil and natural resources. Justice and the rule of law aren’t on the agenda. But they should be, unless American C.E.O.s want to see their investments evaporate.

Read interesting comments @ http://ayyaantuu.com/africa/africas-slide-toward-disaster/#respond

Read more @http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/02/opinion/africas-slide-toward-disaster.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=0